Tuesday 21 January 2020

Nama seemed to offer properties without any analysis of suitability

'It seems the agency’s approach was to identify properties in a particular area and offer them to councils without any analysis of their suitability' (Stock photo)
'It seems the agency’s approach was to identify properties in a particular area and offer them to councils without any analysis of their suitability' (Stock photo)

Paul Melia

No-one doubts the challenge Nama faced when it was established in 2009, taking control of 12,000 loans with 60,000 properties as security.

But more than two years later, it appeared not to have a handle on the types, condition or location of many of the units under its control.

It seems the agency's approach was to identify properties in a particular area and offer them to councils without any analysis of their suitability. This seems the only logical conclusion, given the quality of some of the units being offered.

In Waterford, extensively vandalised holiday homes were suggested. In Sligo, units with "no washing, drying or cooking facilities" were offered.

How these were meant to function as homes without major investment is hard to fathom.

Two things are abundantly clear from the correspondence highlighted today. The first is that Nama often did not provide sufficient detail for councils to assess whether units being offered were suitable.

The second is local authorities generally took far too long to respond.

Those two factors alone meant that at a time when social housing waiting lists were growing and families needed homes, two arms of the State were found wanting. The figures bear this out.

In December 2011, Nama announced it would facilitate units under its control being used for social housing. Between 2012 and March 2015 it had identified 6,391 units. Of these, local authorities confirmed demand for 2,483, but as of March last year only 1,198 - just under half - had been delivered.

That in itself tells the story of the convoluted and frustrating process involved.

Irish Independent

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