Landlords 'not engaging' with key schemes, says Kilkenny housing SPC chair

Certain landlords are ‘closing the door’ on people, says McGuinness

Sam Matthews

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Sam Matthews

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sam.matthews@kilkennypeople.ie

KILKENNY HOUSING

The housing crisis is not being helped by some landlords who are not willing to engage, says one local councillor

The chairman of Kilkenny’s housing strategic policy committee has said there is a problem with landlords not engaging with schemes which could help alleviate the housing crisis.

Cllr Andrew McGuinness said the council needed to engage with certain landlords who were ‘closing the door’ on people.

“While the supply may be there in terms of RAS or HAP, it just seems to me that some landlords aren’t willing to engage with these schemes,” he said at the November meeting of Kilkenny County Council.

The Fianna Fail councillor said it appeared to be due to the possiblity of getting a better deal elsewhere, meaning ‘some people fall through the cracks’.

“The supports are there to secure private rental accommodation, but landlords aren’t engaging,” he said.

A recent parliamentary discussion, reported online by this newspaper, revealed the number of HAP supported households in Kilkenny at end of Q2 of this year stood at 800.

Meanwhile, at the same meeting, another Government initiative to keep people in their homes, the ‘Mortgage to Rent’ scheme, which helps those with unsutainable mortgages, was branded ‘an unmitigated disaster’ by another local councillor. Cllr Maurice Shortall said it had taken two years to get one application across the line.

The council has a housing stock of 2,305 units, but a lack of social housing construction in recent years means it is heavily reliant on the private rental sector to meet housing demand here.

Kilkenny County Council has plans to deliver a further 800 housing units by 2021.

Senior executive officer for housing Martin Mullally has said the challenges include the identification of additional development sites, particularly in Kilkenny City, seeking to provide sustainable housing development. Three in every four requests are for one and two-bed units, but there is a limited stock of such units available for purchase.

At Friday’s budget 2018 meeting, the council’s chief executive Colette Byrne said it was the worst housing criss she had seen, and she would ‘not be proud as a public servant to see people living in hotels’. She said infrastructural plans for the city’s Western Environs would be key to addressing the housing shortage.

“All of us in this room need to put our shoulder to the wheel,” she said.