Doubts have arisen over the delivery of some 365 rental units at cost price by the end of the year.
In February, Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien announced that he had approved funding for the provision of 390 rental units at eight sites this year, mainly in the greater Dublin area.
Housing, whose rents are based on the cost of building, managing and maintaining the housing, not market rates, was to be provided by Approved Housing Organizations (AHBs) using a new rental value loan program of 35 million euros approved in the 2021 budget.
Tenant applications for the first 25 houses on Taylor’s Hill in Balbriggan were opened last month, with more than 1,000 applications for rental homes for workers earning too much to qualify for social housing benefits, but no can’t afford to buy or rent on the open market.
However, no further schedule has been unveiled and the Housing Department will not provide details on expected delivery dates or proposed locations for the remaining 365 units.
It has also emerged that with regard to at least one of the projects, 75 housing units in Clondalkin, west Dublin, the units are not expected to be completed until next year.
Sinn Féin housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin said it was now “very unlikely” that the remaining 365 rental units would be provided this year and that it was possible that the houses in Balbriggan were the only ones provided through the equity loan program in 2021.
“I am very concerned that not all 390 rental units at cost will be ready this year, although the minister reiterated last month that they would be ready in 2021,” he said.
“In my own constituency, 75 apartments to be acquired for rental at cost will not be ready until next year. I would like the minister to tell us how many will be ready for tenants this year and how many will be renewed in 2022. “
The ministry said “the necessary financial and commercial arrangements for the remaining projects benefiting from the Rental Value Loan (CREL) financing are being finalized by the relevant AHBs.” However, it will not say where these homes would be located and when they would be available for rent.
“When these agreements are concluded, the details of these specific projects, including locations, housing types and rents covering costs, will be made public and rentals announced by the relevant AHB in due course.”
Separately, the department said 50 apartments will soon be available for tenants at Enniskerry Road in Sandyford, south Dublin, as part of what was to be the first pilot cost-rental program. The development of these apartments was announced in 2017 and construction started in 2019.