Government tenant-in-situ schemes competing with first-time buyers, local authorities warn

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Gabija Gataveckaite

Tenant-in-situ schemes operated by city and county councils are competing with first-time buyers, local authorities will warn TDs and Senators.

The warning comes as coalition TDs may vote against the Government this week in a Sinn Féin motion to extend the eviction ban.

Opposition politicians have frequently called for the tenant-in-situ schemes to be beefed up so councils can step in and buy more properties from landlords who are selling up and leaving the market.

These schemes allow local authorities to buy homes where tenants face eviction if the landlord is looking to sell.

The council buys the property from the landlord and acts as a landlord, with the home becoming a council house.

However, it only applies to tenants who qualify for social housing.

The Government hopes to have 1,500 homes bought under the tenant-in-situ scheme this year.

However, the City and County Management Association (CCMA) will tell the Dáil’s housing committee that the scheme competes with first-time buyers looking to buy a home, as the council buys it outright.

“The challenges include… competition with first-time-buyers, among others,” the CCMA will tell TDs and Senators.

Other “challenges” of the scheme include spending state funds on housing without any new homes being built and housing families ahead of others who have been on social housing waiting lists for longer.

There are also benefits to the scheme, including permanent housing of people eligible for social housing and preventing homelessness.

Paying rent on time, costs of any potential upgrade works, condition of the property and a valid eviction notice are some of the factors taken into consideration when a council is deciding whether to buy the property.

How long tenants have been on the waiting list for a council home, and in the property, as well as their household needs, are also taken into consideration.

A total of 367 properties have gone sale agreed under the tenant-in-situ scheme across the country since April 2022.

A further 634 properties are currently in the process of being purchased.

Around 166 HAP tenancies are created each week, according to the association.

Local authorities manage more than 140,000 social homes and added more than 7,600 additional homes to social housing stock last year.

The association expects the delivery of new homes to be greater this year.