Kilkenny councillor questions low take-up on Repair and Lease scheme

The national scheme is to be revised due to low interest

Sam Matthews

Reporter:

Sam Matthews

Email:

sam.matthews@kilkennypeople.ie

Repair to lease scheme

Cllr David Kennedy noted there seemed to be a 'poor takeup' on the scheme

There was a low level of interest in the Government's new Repair and Leasing Scheme in Kilkenny and everywhere else last year.

The scheme was rolled out nationally in March last year as a 'key component' of the Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness. It targets owners of vacant properties as a possible source of social housing, enables funding to support necessary repairs to vacant properties, and provides property owners with an income stream.

At a recent meeting of Kilkenny County Council, it was revealed that the local authority received just 17 expressions of interest by the end of last year, despite an 'extensive advertising programme'.

Four of these applications were considered suitable, but the owners did not proceed. Six applications were inspected and requests for itemisation and costings of works were issued. Two were deemed beyond the scope of the scheme, one was withdrawn due to the sale of the property.

Cllr David Kennedy noted there seemed to be a 'poor takeup' on the scheme.

“Are we not publicising that well enough, or to be brutally honest, does no one really want to go near it?” he asked.

Chief executive Colette Byrne said the repair and leasing scheme had been publicised as well as it could have been. She said if any of the elected members were aware of any premises that might be suitable they could make that known.

“There certainly would seem to be some issue, and there’s not great take-up around the country,” she said.

She said the scheme may end up going back for review.

Since the January council meeting, it has been confirmed by the Department of Housing that changes will be made to the scheme due to the low takeup.