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Saturday 19 October 2019

Major landlord Ires Reit offers council 43 social homes for €21m

Ronan Lyons: Cost of social homes should be paid from general taxes. Picture: David Conachy
Ronan Lyons: Cost of social homes should be paid from general taxes. Picture: David Conachy

Gordon Deegan

The country's largest private landlord Ires Reit is proposing to sell 43 apartments for more than €21m to a council for use as social housing.

The average cost of an apartment in the Rockbrook development at Sandyford, Dublin, to the local authority in Ires Reit's proposal is €491,503.

Documents lodged with An Bord Pleanála show a value of €780,355 put on the largest three-bedroom apartment.

In complying with so-called 'Part V' regulations, Ires Reit is planning to set aside 10pc of the 428 apartments planned at Rockbrook for social housing.

Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council had requested from the developer a mix of 40pc one-bed apartments, 50pc two-bed apartments and 10pc three-bed apartments.

The 43-apartment proposal by the Ires Reit firm shows that the value of the one-bedroom apartments range from €279,627 to €292,633, with the value of the two-bed apartments ranging from €487,722 to €637,290.

The value of the three-bedroom apartments range from €598,272 to €780,355.

The proposal by Ires Reit is one of two options put forward by the company that it says are in compliance with Part V.

The Part V obligations will only come into force if and when Ires Reit secures planning permission for the overall 428-unit plan.

Ires Reit's plan is the latest proposal by a builder to supply social and affordable homes in the large scale planning residential applications going before An Bord Pleanála under Government fast-track planning rules.

But housing market expert Ronan Lyons said: "The problem with Part V is that it pushes the cost of social housing on to the occupants of other newly built homes - the other 90pc in particular."

He said: "In most European countries, the cost of social housing is paid by the general taxpayer, at either local or national level, which is a much fairer way to spread the cost."

The assistant professor of economics at Trinity College Dublin added: "Given the high cost of Ireland's social housing set-up, and high build costs generally, it's very unlikely that Part V will be able to do anything substantial to address the lack of housing supply. A system based on cost rents would make the supply of social housing much more responsive to need."

However, director of advocacy at Focus Ireland Mike Allen said: "Housing is the answer to homelessness, and Part V is part of that answer.

"As private sector building supply increases, it will become an increasingly important part of that supply."

A decision is due on the application later this year.

Irish Independent

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