Move to expand vacant building refurbishment scheme to include rental properties welcomed

Cllr John Paul O’Shea (FG) said the move would bring thousands of new properties on to the rental market.

Bill BrowneCorkman

THE move to extend the Croí Cónaithe housing refurbishment scheme to include rental homes has the potential to be real game-changer in addressing the chronic housing crisis.

That according to North Cork Fine Gael county councillor Cork-based county councillor John Paul O’Shea, who said the move would “significantly boost” the number of properties on the market in the private rental sector.

The move is in response to the long-running housing crisis and was part of a package of Government measures in a counter-motion to Sinn Féin’s recent private members’ motion seeking to extend the controversial eviction ban.

Previously the Croí Cónaithe scheme had offered grants of up to €50,000 refurbish vacant and derelict properties, providing applicants use the property as their principal private residence.

Cllr O’Shea said that in addition to extending the scheme, which will allow owners to refurbish homes and rent them out, the government has also agreed to review the scheme grant rates.

“This is extremely welcome news and builds on the expansion of the scheme to include vacant and one-off properties in cities and rural areas,” said Cllr O’Shea.

He said the move made sense in light given the severe shortage of rental properties on the market.

“It will open up the scheme to many more people that own a derelict or vacant property but do not have the finances to renovate it,” said Cllr O’Shea.

He said the extension of the scheme, combined with an increase in the grant aid available, would bring thousands of current vacant properties onto the rental market.

“I said when the scheme was expanded in Q4 of last year to include rural one-off houses and those within city area, that the target of bringing 2,000 derelict and vacant properties back into use within two-years was easily achievable,” said Cllr O’Shea.

“Now that the scheme is to be extended to include properties offered for rent, I believe it is possible to double that target by 2025, having a hugely positive impact on the supply of rental homes,” he added.