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Latent defects redress scheme ‘urgently required’ – Ó Broin

28 January, 2019 - by Eoin Ó Broin TD

Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin TD has called on the government to urgently reconsider its opposition to the creation of a latent defects redress scheme to help those living in badly built properties bought during the Celtic Tiger. The call comes as fundamental balcony design flaws and fire safety issues are flagged at another housing development, this time in Belmayne in Dublin.

Deputy Ó Broin said:

“Reports in the Irish Times this morning highlight how design flaws and fire safety concerns have been uncovered at anther housing development, this time in Belmayne in Dublin.

“According to unpublished reports referenced in Irish Times this morning, inspections of a number of balconies at the 1,000 unit development indicated that there is a ‘fundamental’ flaw with the design and construction of the original balconies.

“Rotting timber and the roof collapsing, necessitating up to €150,000 in repairs, was also highlighted in the paper.

“A second report covering fire safety issues indicated that in some cases flammable material was used alongside what appeared to be inadequate fire-stopping work.

“The response from the government to date on helping homeowners and tenants who have uncovered latent defects has been non-existent. Nowhere in any Budget to date by this Fine Gael led government has there been any mention of a latent defects fund to assist those living in badly built properties bought during the boom years. 

“The Oireachtas Housing Committee published a report this time last year that dealt with the issue of latent defects. The Safe as House report, which I authored, received cross party support.

“The report made 26 recommendations in total. More specifically to deal with the issue of latent defects the report recommended that a redress scheme to assist home owners with latent defects should be established. Mandatory latent defects insurance and a range of law reforms including transferrable warranties should also be introduced.

“Sinn Féin followed up on this by including in our Budget for 2019 an initial €7.5m fund for remedial works for homeowners who purchased properties prior to 2014 with serious structural latent defects where the developer is no longer trading and there is no way to cover costs. This is would be matched by €7.5m from industry.

“The government can no longer bury its head in the sand on this issue. The cross party recommendations in the Safe as Houses report must be progressed.

“I have raised my concerns about this with the Minister for Housing today.” 

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