Thursday 22 June 2017

Authorities accepted one third of homes

Since 2012, Nama has offered 6,765 residential properties to local authorities and housing charities for use as social housing. But four years on, less than a third of these have actually been taken up. Stock Image
Since 2012, Nama has offered 6,765 residential properties to local authorities and housing charities for use as social housing. But four years on, less than a third of these have actually been taken up. Stock Image

Shane Phelan and Paul Melia

Since 2012, Nama has offered 6,765 residential properties to local authorities and housing charities for use as social housing.

But four years on, less than a third of these have actually been taken up.

Click to view full size graphic
Click to view full size graphic

The Irish Independent examined hundreds of emails exchanged between Nama, the Housing Agency and city and county councils to get a better understanding of why the take-up was so low.

Several key issues emerged, including concerns about the quality of the homes on offer, the impact on the social housing mix in certain areas, and, in some instances, the high service charges which would have been involved.

The process was also made more difficult due to the quality of information being exchanged between Nama and local authorities.

In several counties, local authorities concluded that what was on offer from Nama was simply not up to scratch.

In Co Sligo, for example, 11 units were rejected as the living rooms were too small, there was no washing, drying or cooking facilities, no private amenity space and inadequate parking.

In Co Tipperary, the council rejected units that were timber framed and "extensively vandalised". The properties were originally designed as holiday homes, with electric heating.

Clare County Council informed Nama it was not interested in holiday homes, which meant there were "very few" units the agency could offer in the county.

Pyrite concerns emerged about units in a development in Newcastle, Co Dublin.

Meanwhile, in Kerry, an apartment block was offered - but its roof blew off in a storm.

In several counties properties were offered in areas where there was either no social demand or it was simply not desirable to have more social housing.

In Co Longford, units were offered in an estate which had received "bad press".

In Co Kerry, the council said that growing emigration from many smaller villages meant there was little demand for social housing in some areas.

In Co Galway, concerns were raised that units being offered may not have had the correct planning permission.

Irish Independent

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