Friday 30 September 2016

Landlords to be offered five years' rent for vacant properties

Published 11/09/2016 | 02:30

Housing Minister Simon Coveney. Photo: Tom Burke
Housing Minister Simon Coveney. Photo: Tom Burke

Landlords will be offered five years' rent up front or as much as €30,000 for vacant properties as part of a new Government initiative aimed at resolving the housing crisis.

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Housing Minister Simon Coveney is developing a scheme which will see local authorities approach owners of vacant properties and offer them cash lump sums in return for leasing the properties.

Council officials will offer landlords grants for vacant houses under a 'repair to lease' scheme.

It is hoped the project will incentivise people to renovate old houses which have sat idle for a number of years, before renting them to tenants through local authorities.

Approved housing agencies will also be able to avail of the scheme and organisations will be encouraged to identify vacant properties which could be leased.

Pilot projects of the scheme are to be rolled out in Waterford and Carlow before it goes nationwide.

The Housing Agency has also been given €70m to purchase and renovate vacant properties for rent.

There are an estimated 250,000 empty properties around the country.

Speaking to the Sunday Independent, Mr Coveney said: "This idea that we are doing nothing to get vacant properties back in use is nonsense. We are actually doing a lot."

The Housing Minister is expected to give details of his plans to make use of vacant properties at Fine Gael's annual two-day 'think in' at Keadeen Hotel in Newbridge, Kildare.

Meanwhile, Public Expenditure and Reform Minister Paschal Donohoe has insisted that October's Budget will pass, despite tensions between Fine Gael and the Independent Alliance.

Mr Donohoe, who will also address colleagues in Kildare, said he is ready for the "drama" and "tension" during budget negotiations.

"I know that will happened but at the end of all that we will pass a budget and we will pass an effective budget to respond back to where the country is at the moment," he told the Sunday Independent.

Last Thursday, Mr Donohoe warned Cabinet colleagues that he will not be able to meet all their demands.

He told them that while the State's coffers are in a healthy position, much of the funding is needed to address demographic challenges, such as increasing number of children going to school and people living longer.

Friday was the deadline for budget estimate submissions from Cabinet ministers and bilaterals will begin next week.

Speaking at the Kennedy Summer School in Wexford yesterday afternoon, Mr Donohoe said the county must brace itself for all potential consequences from Brexit.

"We cannot assume that the future European Union is the current Union minus the UK with the only change consisting of the British departure. What remains will change. The centre of gravity will shift, in form and function," he said.

Sunday Independent

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