Louth County Council believes it is the first local authority in Ireland to buy up abandoned privately-owned houses that were attracting anti-social behaviour and instead use them for social housing.
It is on target to purchase 24 such units by the end of the year.
Director of services, Joe McGuinness, said that the council had been “conscious of a number of vacant and almost derelict units in our own estates that were in private ownership and were the source of anti-social behaviour or were attracting anti-social behaviour and were negatively contributing to the estate management of the area.”
He said that most of the original owners of the properties had walked away from mortgages. “Generally we got little response from owners, most had walked away from mortgages, some (were) second home mortgages which were privately rented and others that had once been owner occupiers.”
Last year the council made a proposal to the Department of the Environment for funding to commence the process of compulsory purchase of the units, as well as to “renovate and allocate the refurbished units to productive social housing units”.
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