Tuesday, 16 June 2020
Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government
1050. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government the arrangements relating to the proposed cost-rental sector; the person or body that will ultimately be the owners of these properties; if they will be in State ownership or ownership of some other organisation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10565/20]
Acknowledging that renters in Dublin and other major urban centres are facing significant housing access and affordability challenges, the Government is committed to the introduction of Cost Rental in Ireland. In this context, Cost Rental is defined as housing where the rents charged cover the cost of delivering, managing, and maintaining the homes only. Rents are not set by the market according to supply and demand. It represents a new form of rental tenure for Ireland and a new State intervention into the rental market.
A working group involving my Department, the Land Development Agency (LDA), the Housing Agency, local authority representation and other stakeholders is developing the policy framework for a broad Cost Rental model. The group is examining how a sustainable financing and implementation structure can be established to deliver Cost Rental units at the necessary scale. Detailed operational and eligibility criteria for Cost Rental will be informed by this evidence building and policy work.
This work is being assisted by research which has been commissioned by the European Investment Bank (EIB) on behalf of the Department. The EIB has extensive international experience in providing support for affordable housing and is providing technical assistance in assessing the potential market for Cost Rental in Ireland. Fundamental aspects such as the ownership of potential units delivered under Cost Rental will depend on the eventual model chosen as a result of this policy work.
Formulation of Cost Rental policy is also being supported by two designated pilot projects, at Enniskerry Road, Stepaside, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown and at Emmet Road, Inchicore, Dublin City (the former St. Michael’s Estate). The Enniskerry Road development has already commenced construction, supported by EIB funding, and the first homes are anticipated to come on stream from 2021. The Cost Rental homes delivered under this model at Enniskerry Road will be owned and managed by two Approved Housing Bodies, Tuath and Respond. Plans for the Emmet Road site are at the planning and design and stage, through under the proposed model it is expected that these homes will be owned by Dublin City Council.
Additionally, the LDA and other local authorities are actively considering Cost Rental as an option for sites within their land portfolios. An example of this can be seen in the planning application which has been submitted for a site at Shanganagh in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown, where the LDA is working in partnership with the County Council. In this case, it is currently envisaged that these Cost Rental units will be owned and managed by the LDA. On its own portfolio of sites, the LDA may develop Cost Rental housing in order to fulfil the Government’s Public Lands Affordability Requirement. This requires that at least 30% of the housing potential of surplus Government land should be delivered as affordable housing, either Affordable Purchase or Cost Rental.