Up to €40k on offer for upgrade of homes for social housing

Cork County Council is appealing to people with vacant properties to help them ease the housing crisis — and there’s a ‘carrot’ of up to €40,000 on offer.

It has launched a Repair and Lease Scheme (RLS) which it also hopes will improve dereliction in many towns and villages.

Seamus De Faoite, a senior executive county council officer who has been put in charge of the scheme, said its aim is to acquire more than 200 such properties over the next five years in the county via the RLS.

It is estimated that there are 183,000 vacant properties nationwide.

Mr De Faoite said that the scheme has many advantages. He said that some owners may simply not have the money to do up their properties and the longer they remain idle, the more derelict they become, considerably devaluing their worth.

The principal objective of the RLS is to deliver social housing quickly, by targeting the upgrading of vacant units which require only limited works.

The council is prepared to offer owners up to €40,000 to upgrade their building to make it suitable for social housing, which the council will use for a 10- or 20-year period before handing it back to the owner.

“The RLS will also contribute to urban, village, and rural renewal,” he said.

To qualify, the property has to be vacant for 12 months. It will then be assessed by council officials to see if it is suitable for renting to council tenants.

The owner must get two quotes from contractors and give these to the council.

Once agreement is reached, the owner then appoints the successful contractor, who is then paid for the work by the local authority.

The property owner will enter into an agreement with the council on the cost of renovations, the terms of the lease and the repayment cost of the works.

The property will then be inspected to confirm it’s of rental standard and will subsequently be given to a tenant. The owner will also be able to benefit from rent.

Mr De Faoite is currently touring municipal district councils in the county informing them of the scheme and urging county councillors to contact building owners they know who might benefit from it. A number of councillors have asked Mr De Faoite to ensure that the scheme is particularly rolled out in smaller towns and villages where there are a lot of vacant properties.

People interested in RLS can contact their local council offices, or email repairandleasing@corkcoco.ie

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