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Council's repossession plan comes under fire

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Dessie Ellis

Dessie Ellis

Dessie Ellis

DUBLIN City Council is planning to complete 135 repossessions over the next three years, despite the city continuing to be gripped by a housing crisis.

The council has said it is prepared to spend €23m on repossessing the properties, many of which have generated extensive arrears.

A further 180 mortgages provided by the council will revert to mortgage-to-rent packages, which will allow occupants to remain in their homes.

Council bosses have also contacted the Department of the Environment in a bid to secure additional funding for the turnaround of dozens of void properties in the capital.

According to figures supplied by the council, a total of 314 mortgages are deemed to be "unsustainable".

Some 108 customers are underpaying the full instalment while 77 are not making any repayments.

Council officials have agreed to restructure 106 loans into interest-only facilities. The remaining 20 tenants are paying full instalments, but the loans are still deemed unsustainable.

Despite the homelessness problem in Dublin, the city council says it still intends to complete 135 repossessions.

"The 135 would consist of properties which generally have extensive arrears and would be a combination of abandoned property, voluntary surrenders and repossessions where all efforts at resolution have failed," a council spokeswoman said.

It is envisaged that these units will be taken into social stock, according to the council. There are currently 120 demands for possessions at various stages.

aggressive

Sinn Fein housing spokesman Dessie Ellis said he is concerned the council is adopting an aggressive approach with families struggling to keep up with their mortgage payments.

"Repossession must be the last resort because any attempt to put people out of their homes is not the right strategy," the Dublin North West TD said.

"I would call on any local authority to strike deals with those in arrears so that they can remain in their homes at virtually all costs."

Mr Ellis said he has been contacted by constituents who fear their homes will now be repossessed.

"It is imperative that the council acts sensitively if it is so keen on going down the repossession route," he said.

"Many of these families are extremely distressed and the council must do whatever it can to keep them in their homes."

Dublin City Council is to seek reimbursement of €753,550 from the Department of Environment for the cost of seven repossessions that have taken place this year.

Officials from the Housing Development Section are due to make a submission to the department in the coming weeks.

Of the repossessed properties currently in the council's social housing stock, six have been designated for allocation in the coming months.

Five units, located across the capital, are currently undergoing refurbishment work which is due to be completed by July.

The properties will be handed to individuals currently on the council housing list who will move in later this year.

hnews@herald.ie


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