Pause on moves to repossess homes

A moratorium on home repossessions is among the recommendations due to be published by a cross-party Housing Committee.

Struggling mortgage owners will be protected by a pause on all repossessions until the government implements proposals to help address the housing crisis, while the committee has also set a target of providing 50,000 social housing units by 2020.

These homes would be either built or bought and would not included private properties rented by those in receipt of payments such as HAP.

It comes as the government announced a €200m fund to incentivise developers to build more housing by giving local authorities money to provide the infrastructure needed for developments.

However, speaking in the Dáil yesterday, Taoiseach Enda Kenny confirmed that this funding would not be available until 2017.

The Housing Committee which is set to publish its report on Friday will also recommend that rent certainty be introduced through measures which could including linking rents to the consumer price index.

More flexibility from the EU around the amount that can be spent on social housing and seeking funding for developments from the likes of pension funds or credit unions are also among the recommendations.

Committee member Barry Cowen said: “The recommendations that will emanate from the committee this week will show and prove that other means to attract the level of funding that is necessary is possible if the government are prepared to take on board the suggestions that are there.

“I am thinking specifically about a special purpose vehicle that has the powers to raise quite a lot of money off balance sheet to address this issue because a lot of money is needed to address it.

“I don’t want to hear the Taoiseach say that the monies won’t be available until 2017 or 2018 because they can be provided if the will is there and the will is there,” the Fianna Fáil TD said.

Announcing the roll-out of the €200m fund Ministers Paschal Donohoe and Simon Coveney confirmed that development levies will also reviewed.

But pressed by Labour leader Brendan Howlin Mr Kenny told the Dáil: “The draw-down will not be until next year but work will commence this year.”

Alan Kelly interjected that this “is impossible”.

Mr Donohoe said the fund would be spread over a three year period and local authorities would have to bid for the finance.

“A key issue that many local authorities are experiencing across the country is that developers will not move ahead with building of homes, because crucial pieces of infrastructure are still missing, it could be a bridge, it could be a road, it could be a connection to an ESB station, a connection to a gas mains.

“This is an issue that is effecting the delivery of between 15,000 and 20,000 homes. It’s an emergency one-off response from this government to a critical issue which this country is experiencing,” he said.

Minister Coveney said this would be the first of a series of initiatives in response to the housing crisis in Dublin, Cork and other main centres.


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