Dublin City Councils Position In Relation to Vacant Local Authority Dwellings

There has been some media attention in recent days on the issue of vacant Local Authority dwellings.  This resulted from statistics for 2017 published by the National Oversight and Audit Commission (NOAC).  It is important to clarify these statistics in the context of the situation in Dublin City Council.

The figures from NOAC refer to all properties in the ownership of Dublin City Council, including properties that are scheduled for demolition (some demolished this year) for comprehensive refurbishment (where vacancies are necessary to facilitate actual building works to commence) and those that are being transferred to Approved Housing Bodies for regeneration.  None of these dwellings are available for letting.

Examples:

  • O Devaney Gardens, Dublin 7 - At the end of 2017 there were still 58 old apartments standing, these were demolished recently. This will facilitate the upcoming major regeneration of the site which will involve the construction of over 700 new homes, 56 of which are already under construction for social housing.
  • St Teresa's Gardens, Dublin 8 - There are still 108 apartments standing on this site, 54 are occupied. They are all scheduled for demolition. In the coming weeks a contractor engaged by Dublin City Council will commence work on 54 new houses at a nearby site.  These when completed will allow us to demolish the remainder of the old apartments. Once the site is cleared it leaves the potential for over 500 new homes.
  • Constitution Hill, Dublin 7 - This complex is in need of comprehensive refurbishment with scope for some additional homes. Such comprehensive refurbishment cannot get underway while tenants are in situ and we are currently not re-allocating apartments that become vacant in order to prepare for and facilitate this very necessary refurbishment.  
  • Croke Villas, Dublin 3 - A major regeneration project is already underway here and all the old blocks of apartments are to be demolished, and most have been demolished since the beginning of this year.
  • Dolphin House Dublin 8 - A major regeneration project (First Phase) is very close to completion and the vacant apartments, now fully refurbished will be allocated in the coming weeks.

There are a few other complexes in a similar position. The inclusion of all these properties in the NOAC (2017) statistics can give a misleading view on the level of vacant City Council property at any given time.  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.

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 (Death, transfer etc) and 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 1.8% 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 1.5% of total housing stock.

The formulation recently of a new Framework Panel of contractors by Dublin City Council will further speed up the time taken to refurbish each vacant dwelling as they arise and bring the average works contract down from 4/5 months to 3 months.     

Casual vacancies arising in our housing stock (900 each year) make a very positive and significant contribution to the needs of the many families on our Housing Waiting Lists and Dublin City Council takes the opportunity, when vacant to refurbish these homes and bring them up to modern standards (Much of our housing stock is old) for the families who will be moving in.

We believe that the level of vacancies (voids) in our housing stock to be very reasonable, there will always be a certain level of vacancies in a housing stock of this size and we are working hard to further reduce the time taken to restore these homes for letting to eligible families. 

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