Cork County Council is losing at least €350,000 a year in rental income because it isn’t repairing its vacant homes fast enough.
The local authority currently has 311 vacant properties on its books, several of which have been boarded up for a number of years.
A report was issued on the matter yesterday by Mary Ryan, the council’s director of housing services, which showed that while the council isn’t very speedy at renovating houses, it nevertheless tackles them faster than a lot of other local authorities.
Figures published nationally show that on average a vacant local authority house is handed over to a new tenant within 25.8 weeks.
Cork County Council’s turnover time has reduced from 22.56 weeks in 2010 to a current 20.6 weeks.
Ms Ryan, who was responding to a query from Cllr Seamus McGrath (FF), said on average it took just over 11 weeks to repair a house and a further nine weeks before a new tenant was installed.
“The turnaround time is getting better, but there’s still work to be done,” Cllr McGrath said.
Cllr Andrias Moynihan (FF) said it was frustrating for those on the housing waiting list to see boarded-up homes: “311 vacant houses, if they were in one place, would represent a huge ghost estate,” he said. “Only last Friday I drove around an estate in Ballincollig where at least four houses are boarded up.”
Cllr Dan Joe Fitzgerald (FF), chair of the council committee which deals with housing, said every effort is being made to renovate houses more quickly.
Cllr Veronica Neville (FG) said she still had grave concerns about the length of time it was taking to make repairs, while the Mayor of County Cork, Cllr Barbara Murray (FG), maintained a shorter turnaround was vital.
County manager Martin Riordan said it was intended to speed up the work “to generate [rental] income and provide homes for people”.
He has set aside €1m in the forthcoming council budget to speed up repairs.
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