independent

Saturday 23 March 2019

Vacant houses to be tackled in Fingal as new unit established

Fingal County Council has established a Vacant Housing Unit to ensure that numbers of empty houses around the county are kept to a minimum
Fingal County Council has established a Vacant Housing Unit to ensure that numbers of empty houses around the county are kept to a minimum

John Manning

Fingal County Council has established a dedicated Vacant Housing Unit to ensure that numbers of empty houses around the county are kept to a minimum.

As part of this initiative, a specific Vacant Homes Officer has been detailed to manage the pressing need in bringing these properties back into use as demand for housing continues to grow.

Director of Housing at Fingal County Council, Margaret Geraghty said that although the amount of vacant housing stock in Fingal is one of the lowest nationally, there is an urgency to bring vacant stock back into use and this has been recognised by Fingal County Council through its establishment of a Vacant Housing Unit.

She accepted that it could be a slow process to identify the owners of these properties as there could be whole range of reasons why a property had fallen vacant.

Ms Geraghty said: 'It is seldom the case that a property is vacant simply because somebody has decided not to live there. There are a range of reasons why a property might not be in use, so we try to open direct engagement with the property owner, the receiver, the bank or whoever it happens to be, to get the houses back into use.'

In terms of its own stock, the local authority has continued to maintain a void rate of less than one per cent during 2018.

Ms Geraghty explained: 'We have about 5,500 properties in our stock, which is an increase of 60 per cent over last 10 years.

'There has been a very substantial increase in social housing across the county, and we manage to maintain a very low vacant property level within our own stock.

'This is something that we continue to put a lot of focus on in terms of how we go about our business, and we ensure that we have contractors on panels that we can quickly get them into refurbish properties.'

The council's Director of Housing advised members of the public if they are aware of vacant homes to visit the Fingal County Council website, www.fingal.ie, or to email vacant.homes@fingal.ie, and they would follow up the information.

Fingal Independent

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