Government must answer questions on Cerberus social housing sale - Eoin Ó Broin TD
Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin TD has called upon the Government to explain the detail of a number of properties purchased by the Housing Agency from Cerberus for social housing.
The call came after Jack Horgan Jones of the Sunday Business Post revealed that the loans on some the properties were previously held by NAMA and sold onto Cerberus.
Deputy Ó Broin said:
“Today the Sunday Business Post has revealed that the Housing Agency is in the process of purchasing up to 200 homes from Cerberus as part of their €470m vacant homes fund provided by the Department of Housing.
"The paper also reveals that the loans of a number of these properties were previously held by NAMA and then sold on to Cerberus.
“I welcome the fact that additional homes are being bought for social housing stock. Since 2017 more than 1800 vacant homes have been offered to the state for purchase, but to date just 400 have been bought.
“However there are a number of questions on this deal which the Government must answer.
“Were any of these properties included in the original list of 6,000 homes offered for sale by NAMA to Local Authorities back in 2015? If so why were they refused then but deemed acceptable now?
“Is the Government purchasing the properties from Cerberus at a market price or a discount? Specifically how Cerburus made a profit from purchasing homes with loans secured from NAMA - a state body - and then selling them on at a higher price to the Housing Agency - another state body?
“Are these the only properties with a previous connection to NAMA that have been bought by either the Housing Agency or Local Authorities or have others been purchased?
“Will Cerberus pay any Capital Gains Tax on the proceeds of these sales or are they availing of one of the Governments many generous tax incentives for vulture funds?
“Every single social home added to the stock is welcome, especially if it takes a family out of emergency accommodation.
"But Government must ensure that each purchase represents value for money and that vulture funds are not allowed to profit on the back of state ineptitude.”