As part of the Government Rebuilding Ireland "Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness", two schemes have been introduced that will be of interest to owners of long-term vacant, underutilised or derelict properties.
The aim of the scheme is to acquire and refurbish properties to a standard for rental accommodation; in return, making them available for social housing while improving cityscapes and reducing homelessness. Homeowners have the option to sell or lease their property to the City Council.
Buy and Renew Scheme
The Buy and Renew Scheme was announced by then Minister for Housing, Mr Simon Coveney in early 2017, to support local authorities and/or approved housing bodies to acquire or purchase long-term vacant, under-utilised or derelict properties. Having acquired a property, Dublin City Council will refurbish it to a standard for rented accommodation and then make it available for social housing use. Full details can be found in Department Circular No.41-2016.
The key objective of the scheme is to allow the City Council to acquire properties requiring substantial works by agreement with the property owner (purchase), or through compulsory purchase order (CPO). Remediation works will be carried out by Dublin City Council to a standard for rented accommodation and on completion the property will be returned to residential use and made available for social housing. In doing so, we aim to reduce homelessness, reduce dereliction and improve cityscapes.
Repair and Leasing Scheme
The Repair and Leasing Scheme has been introduced as a key action under the government's Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness. The Repair and Leasing Scheme is one of a number of initiatives with a specific focus on utilising existing vacant housing for social housing.
Dublin City Council is actively looking for long-term (minimum 12 months) vacant properties that require some repair work to bring the property up to the required standard for rental accommodation. The City Council aims to return under-utilised properties back to residential use, in lieu of a the property being made available to Dublin City Council through a rental availability agreement or a direct lease agreement.
Dublin City Council can offer an up-front fund for refurbishment costs up to €60,000 (incl. of VAT and white goods); or up to €50,000 if the property was previously a “bedsits”-type dwelling. The refurbishment costs are repaid over the duration of the lease term which can be from 5 years to 20 years and no interest is charged. Repayment of the refurbishment costs are deducted from the rental income agreed with property owners.
The owner has two options
(A) To lease the property back to the City Council through a direct lease agreement. The City Council will be responsible for landlord duties and the rental income will be paid at 80% of current market rental rates for a house or 85% if the dwelling is an apartment
(B) A rental availability arrangement is also available. The owner will take on landowner duties in return for 92% of the agreed current market related rent
On agreement with Dublin City Council, the owner can choose to engage a contractor to carry out the necessary refurbishment works, have Dublin City Council carry out the works or alternative have an approved housing body (AHB) manage the refurbishment works on your behalf.
Where a property owner brings more than one dwelling into the scheme, the funds available, i.e., €60,000 (incl. VAT) per dwelling, may be apportioned between a number of dwellings once the total funding for all dwellings does not exceed €60,000 per dwelling.
This scheme is also available in respect of new, vacant (minimum 12 months), unfinished dwellings. The fund will allow the dwelling be brought to the standard for rented houses regulations only.