Brendan Smith: ‘Extremely important that vacant properties are allocated without undue delays’

Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan and Monaghan, Brendan Smith has welcomed confirmation from the Minister for Housing that further funding will be provided to local authorities for the Housing Voids Programme and that the funding allocations under the 2022 Programme will be announced shortly.

Deputy Brendan Smith commented, “Minister O’Brien since July 2020 has allocated substantial funding to local authorities to enable them to bring back to habitable use vacant council housing. It is extremely important that vacant properties are allocated without undue delays and the financial allocations made in 2020 and 2021 have made a real difference in re-letting vacant housing stock. It is important that all housing is brought up to proper standards and allocated to individuals and families particularly at a time when there is such a demand for housing.”

The Housing Minister in his response to Deputy Brendan Smith’s recent Parliamentary Question in Dáil Éireann stated: “The management and maintenance of local authority housing stock, including pre-letting repairs to vacant properties, the implementation of a planned maintenance programme and carrying out of responsive repairs, are matters for each individual local authority under Section 58 of the Housing Act 1966. 

“Since 2014, Exchequer funding has also been provided through my Department’s Voids Programme to supplement the local authority funding available for the preparation of vacant properties for re-letting. The funding was introduced originally to tackle long term vacant units and is now increasingly targeted to support authority’s to ensure minimal turnaround and re-let times for vacant stock.  

“From 2014 to 2021, expenditure of some €261 million was recouped to local authorities under the Voids Programme which funded the return to productive use of 18,527 properties nationwide. Local authorities also provide significant funding from their own resources to address the level of vacancy within the social housing stock. 

“My Department will continue to support local authorities in their work in this area. Funding allocations under the 2022 Programme will be announced shortly,” concluded Minister Darragh O’Brien.

ENDS 17/05/2022