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Only 653 vacant units back in use via three government schemes - Eoin Ó Broin TD

16 November, 2018 - by Eoin Ó Broin TD

Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin TD has called on the government to urgently review the operation of its three schemes aimed to bring vacant homes into use.

The call comes as data shows that only 653 units have been added to the housing stock over the past two years despite tens of thousands of vacant private homes lying empty across the state.

Deputy Ó Broin said:

“According to information received in response to a parliamentary question the government’s key schemes for returning vacant units back into use, Buy and Renew, Repair and Lease and the Housing Agency fund are not returning a sufficient number of units back into use.

“In fact across all three schemes only 653 units have been delivered in 2017 and 2018 to date. This is extremely disappointing given the census identified 189,000 vacant homes across the country in 2016 and the Geo Directories confirming 90,000 of this figure.

“The Buy and Renew scheme, where funding is provided to local authorities to acquire units for social housing, has only delivered 65 housing units so far in 2018, coupled with the 70 units delivered in 2017 only 135 homes have been brought back into use via the scheme.

“The number of homes in use via the Repair and Lease scheme is only 22 by the end of quarter two 2018 with lease agreements signed for 60.

"Only nine homes were brought back into use via this scheme in 2017. That’s 31 properties delivered. The Repair and Lease scheme aimed to help owners of vacant homes who cannot afford to bring their properties up to the standard required to lease out.

“Despite the Minister unveiling changes to the scheme in January 2018, the take up of the scheme is still dismal and we need to discover why.

“The Housing Agency €70m rolling fund has only delivered 487 units as of the end of September 2018.  This fund was created to acquire turnkey properties from banks and funds. It is disappointing that despite 1,800 homes being offered purchases have only closed on 487.

“The government’s attempts to incentivise vacant units back into use isn’t working. We need to start looking at a carrot and stick approach to this issue.

“Sinn Féin outlined proposals in our alternative budget to increase the vacant site levy and to introduce a Vacant Property Tax to encourage greater supply in housing market.”


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