Wednesday, 15 June 2022
Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government
27. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government the number of rental inspections undertaken in the past 12 months; the number of these that were virtual inspections; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31057/22]
28. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government the number of virtual rental inspections that took place in 2019, 2020, 2021 and to date in 2022; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31058/22]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 27 and 28 together.
The Housing (Standards for Rented Houses) Regulations 2019 specify requirements in relation to a range of matters, such as structural repair, sanitary facilities, heating, ventilation, natural light, fire safety and the safety of gas, oil and electrical supplies. All landlords have a legal obligation to ensure that their rented properties comply with these regulations. Responsibility for the enforcement of the Regulations rests with the relevant local authority.
The number of inspections undertaken in the period 2019 to Q1 2022 are set out in the table below:
|Year||Physical Inspections carried out||Virtual Inspections carried out||Total Inspections carried out|
Detailed information in relation to the number of inspections and enforcement actions undertaken in 2019 to 2021 is available on the Department's website at:
Pandemic restrictions greatly impacted on inspection activity since March 2020. The County and City Management Association’s (CCMA) Local Authority Services Frameworks for Future Covid-19 Pandemic Response did not permit on-site rental inspections for long periods in 2020 and 2021. This was in order to protect tenants, landlords and inspectors. Even when restrictions were relaxed there was still a reluctance on the part of some tenants to allow authorised inspectors access their homes. Inspections have been and continue to be frustrated by some tenants needing to self-isolate due to having Covid-19 or being a close contact.
In response some local authorities piloted virtual inspections which my Department supported with Exchequer funding. Dublin City Council led this initiative and commenced virtual inspections in May 2020. My Department incorporated and standardised the approach taken countrywide into a pilot programme, requesting business cases from participating local authorities to ensure that processes are suitably robust and comprehensive.
It is a key component of the virtual inspection model that local authorities reserve the right to conduct a physical on-site inspection when it is safe to do so and landlords were advised accordingly. Many rented dwellings have been subsequently re-inspected physically, since pandemic restrictions have eased.
29. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government the number of persons that currently live-in cost-rental accommodation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31059/22]
30. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government the number of Cost-Rental Equity Loan-funded cost-rental homes that will made available for tenants in 2022; the locations of these; the unit sizes; the estimated costs of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31060/22]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 29 and 30 together.
Under Housing for All, 10,000 Cost Rental homes will be delivered from 2021 to 2026. These new homes will be delivered by Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs), supported by Cost Rental Equity Loan (CREL) funding, and Local Authorities, funded by the Affordable Housing Fund. The Land Development Agency will also deliver Cost Rental, either on its own portfolio of sites or through acquisitions under Project Tosaigh.
The CREL funds AHB development of Cost Rental homes through low-interest loans over 40 years for up to 30% of delivery costs. Two Calls for Proposals have issued to date, with the most recent approvals confirmed earlier this year.
Budget 2022 allocated €70 million to the CREL scheme for Cost Rental delivery by AHBs in 2022. Over 900 homes have been approved for funding under the scheme to date, with a total of almost 4,000 CREL-funded homes being targeted for delivery over the 5 years to 2026.
The first 65 CREL-funded Cost Rental homes were tenanted by the Clúid AHB in 2021, with 25 at Taylor Hill in Balbriggan and a further 40 at Barnhall Meadows in Leixlip. Both developments delivered cost-covering rents at least 40% below comparable open market prices.
The first 50 purpose-built Cost Rental homes were tenanted by the Respond and Tuath AHBs in March 2022 at Enniskerry Road, Stepaside in Dublin. Again, these tenants benefit from rents which are approximately 40% below comparable market rents in the area for their two-bedroom apartments.
So far this year, 20 CREL-funded homes have been tenanted at Parklands in Citywest. The tenanting and allocation process is underway for a further 123 Cost Rental homes across 4 sites in Dublin and Kildare, which are due to be tenanted by the end of June. This will bring the number of Cost Rental homes in Ireland to 258, less than 12 months since the passing of the Affordable Housing Act last July, with 208 of these homes supported by CREL funding.
To date, approval in principle has been confirmed so far for approximately 900 Cost Rental homes to be delivered by AHBs under the CREL scheme in the period to 2023. The necessary financial and commercial arrangements in relation to a number of these projects are being completed by the AHBs concerned. Full details of the projects, including specific locations, housing typologies and cost-covering rents cannot be made public until these arrangements are concluded. Details are set down in the tables below. This table does not include CREL applications at various stages of preparation for submission under an open CREL call, or applications being processed.
|Funding Stream||Development Name||Approved Housing Body||Local Authority Area||No. Cost Rental Units|
|CREL||Kilcarbery Grange, Clondalkin||Tuath||South Dublin County Council||74|
|CREL||Barnhall, Leixlip||Clúid||Kildare County Council||16|
|CREL||Parklands, Citywest||Tuath||South Dublin County Council||44|
|CREL||The Paddocks, Newbridge||Clúid||Kildare County Council||46|
|CREL||Lancaster Gate, Cork City||Clúid||Cork City County Council||73|
|CREL||The Paddocks, Newbridge||Clúid||Kildare County Council||50|
|CREL||Mariner's Cove, Rush||Respond||Fingal County Council||55|
|CREL||Hansfield, Fingal||Respond||Fingal County Council||31|
|Total 2021 - 2023**||911|
*Commercial Agreements set to be concluded
** Includes 50 homes funded under the Serviced Sites Fund
Having regard to the number of people living in Cost Rental Homes, the Cost Rental Landlord has the final discretion over whether to enter into any tenancy agreement. They seek the efficient use of resources by allocating appropriately sized homes, according to household needs, as set out in Section 31 (3) of the Affordable Housing Act 2021:
- eligibility requirements in respect of tenants, including maximum and minimum income levels for tenants and the households of tenants, having regard to thetype, size, and location of the dwelling, and the size and composition of the household;
- the placing of tenants into particular dwellings appropriate to their needs.
This direction is to ensure that landlords place tenants into homes of an appropriate size, in order to maximise the efficient use of these properties. As such, and given the potential variations in the size of households, figures are not available for the precise number of people living in the 135 Cost Rental properties tenanted to date.