The incoming coalition has promised a new housing commission, stronger protections for tenants, planning reforms and affordable home packages.
The draft deal, agreed between the leaders of Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and the Greens,
Under the 'Our Shared Future' programme document, cheap housing, better supports for tenants and an overhaul of planning regulations are promised. The deal says:
“We understand that provision of more affordable housing has a profound benefit socially and economically and believe the State has a fundamental role in enabling the delivery of new homes and ensuring that best use is made of existing stock.”
Measures listed include putting affordability at the heart of the housing system and prioritising the increased supply of public, social and affordable homes.
There will also be a state-backed affordable home purchase scheme to promote home-ownership while the social housing stock will be increased by more than 50,000, with an emphasis on new builds. It says that the next minister for Housing will “bring forward a target for the delivery of affordable homes over the lifetime of the Government to be available for qualifying purchasers as a matter of priority”.
Those affordable homes will be delivered through local authorities (Serviced Sites Fund), requirements under Part V and by the Land Development Agency. Properties will be sold through the State-backed Affordable Purchase Scheme.
The help-to-buy scheme will also be expanded while the mortgage to rent scheme will be strengthened.
There is also a pledge to increase the social housing stock by over 50,000 over the next five-years, the majority of which are to be built by local authorities.
Social housing reforms include allowing households to move from one authority to another while owners can buy out their own home.
There will be a cost rental model, similar to the ‘Vienna Model’ and others, for the construction and management of properties.
A system of holding rental deposits will also be set up. The new government will also reduce the reliance on the use of HAP for new social housing solutions while the residential tenancies board will be transformed into an independent and strong regulator for tenants and landlords.
There will also be a review of the existing management company legislation to ensure it is fit for purpose and acts in the best interests of residents.
The new government will also instruct local authorities, as part of their housing strategies, to undertake and publish a rental needs assessment.
The remit of the land development agency will be overhauled so that development of sustainable communities is its core objective. It will provide affordable homes, cost rental and social housing.
The government has also promised to ensure that state lands being offered for sale, whether owned by a local authority, government department, commercial or non-commercial semi-state agency or any other agency, would automatically first be offered to the LDA.
In planning, there will be a ‘use it or lose it’ clause for the construction of ten units or more. There will be the creation of an independent building standards regulator while the use of the vacant site levy will be strengthened.
On homelessness, the new coalition proposes a number of measures to reduce the numbers of people without homes, saying:
We will focus our efforts on reducing the number of homeless families and individuals and work with local authorities and housing agencies to support them into long-term sustainable accommodation.