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Over 400 NAMA homes are leased out as social housing

MORE than 400 houses held by NAMA have been leased by local authorities and housing bodies.

The National Social Housing Conference in Wexford was told that 407 had already been transferred, with another 100 due to be transferred shortly, and that 1,820 could be made available over the next three years.

The homes, which include 13 units at Cooline in Cobh, Co Cork, and The Coast, Baldoyle in Dublin, have been leased to local authorities and housing bodies for 20 years and nine months at a set fee every year and acquiring the homes was "complex", NAMA's Felix McKenna said.

Among the issues to be addressed include paying-off development levies, completing building works, transferring common areas and ensuring works are in compliance with planning permission.

Each unit is then rented to individuals, who pay rent to the housing agency. The monthly rent is based on the size of family and income. The housing body or local authority is responsible for collecting the rent.

NAMA is connected with 18pc of all unfinished housing developments, and had a "finite" portfolio of assets. While up to 2,000 could be delivered in total, there was "no new NAMA stock coming on stream", Mr McKenna added.

Meanwhile, the conference yesterday also heard that savings from the IBRC promissory note could be used to invest in social housing which would create jobs and take people off local authority waiting lists.

Around 100,000 people are on council waiting lists, and leasing properties had a "limited impact" in addressing their housing needs, said Donal McManus from the Irish Council for Social Housing.

"Building new social housing has a greater short-term impact on the labour market than other construction investments," he said. "For every 10 jobs created by building social housing, seven jobs are created or sustained elsewhere.

"Interim measures such as using properties acquired through NAMA'S special purpose vehicle were useful but finite in the scale of delivery as less than 500 homes for social housing have been delivered to date. In addition leasing from private owners was limited with lack of interest and we can't become overly reliant on housing vulnerable groups in the private landlord sector."

Among the options to improve housing supplies included using vacant residential sites for social housing; allowing non-profit housing associations to access private finance to build homes and regulation of the sector to encourage private investment.

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