Monday 21 October 2019

Dublin City Council defends record on vacant homes

O'Devaney Gardens
O'Devaney Gardens
Paul Melia

Paul Melia

THE number of vacant homes owned by the country’s biggest local authority has been over-stated, it says.

Dublin City Council said figures from council watchdog the National Oversight and Audit Commission (NOAC) included properties scheduled for demolition, being transferred to approved housing bodies or otherwise not available for rent.

As a result, it said, just 1.8pc of its stock of 24,990 units was not available. A report from the NOAC said the vacancy rate stood at 4.39pc.

"Dublin City Council has a total housing stock, in use or available for use, of just under 25,000 and 900 of these dwellings come vacant each year for several reasons, including death and transfer," it said.

"In most cases they require a certain level of refurbishment, in some cases extensive, to prepare them for re-letting to families on the housing waiting lists.

"At the end of 2017 there were 448 such dwellings vacant and in the process of restoration and re-letting. This figure represented only 1.8pc of the city council's housing stock.

"At the end of July these 448 dwellings were no longer vacant and 367 different dwellings were vacant and in the process of restoration. This figure represented just 1.5pc of total housing stock."

Examples included O'Devaney Gardens in Dublin 7, where 58 old apartments were still standing at the end of 2017, which would have been included in the NOAC report.

These have since been demolished.

The council cited four other examples where stock was classed as vacant, but was part of a complex earmarked for regeneration or demolition.

The council said the inclusion of these properties in the NOAC statistics could "give a misleading view" on the level of cvancy.

"In time these projects will deliver much needed and much improved standards as well as modern new homes with much greater density than before. However we do fully understand the concerns expressed by people who see apartments blocked up and who may not be aware of future plans," it added,

The council also said it had developed a framework of contractors to refurbish vacant dwellings, which would result in average time to complete works falling from between four and five months to three months.

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