Local Fine Gael Minister of State, Deputy Peter Burke, has welcomed the new Housing for All Government policy, the 130 page document which outlines Government’s plans to deliver increased level of housing and which runs until 2030.
“This plan will see a new affordable housing scheme established, whereby those currently locked out of the housing market can purchase homes at affordable prices, either through the Local Authority or privately. A Cost Rental Scheme is being introduced for the first time in this country, where households who earn less than €82,000 can enter into a rental agreement where the rent is set at a 25 percent reduction of market levels.
“Social housing build has been ramped up significantly in the last number of years, we can see the evidence of this in every county in the country. More needs to be built to keep up with demand and to house the increased numbers on our social housing list, and the plan outlines that 90,000 more social homes will be built by 2030.
“There are also elements on the planning side, which fall under my jurisdiction. I am bringing legislation forward which aims to strike a balance in relation to Judicial Review, so that spurious objections to planning permission can have a less of a detrimental affect on our ambitious housing and development plans. While there always must be an opportunity for citizens to be heard and consulted in relation to development, at present the system is weighted far too much in favour of objectors and NGOs with very few members and who face no costs.
“There also is a new scheme which sees sites with planning permissions in place be incentivised to move, but only where developers are making the units available for purchase on the open market. This will significantly aid the activation of 80,000 planning permissions nationwide which have been granted but not yet commenced.
“As Minister with responsibility for housing for older person and people with disabilities, I am eager to see more units being developed in both the private and social housing sector. Under the new plan, Local Authorities will have to publish an action plan in December of this year, outlining how many people they currently have on their social housing list, a breakdown of the age and number of people with disabilities, how many units they need to build to cater for these numbers and how and when they will meet this demand.
“I also welcome increased protection for renters, with rent increases now linked to the rate of inflation, which is approx. 0.5 percent, rather than four percent annually allowed to be charged in Rent Pressure Zones. Tenancies of indefinite duration will be progressed and increased regulation to curtail the expansion of short-term leasing on websites such as Air B n B in areas which have constrained supply of rental properties. This is urgently needed in Westmeath and across the Midlands, where rental property numbers continue to dwindle,” Deputy Burke asserted.
‘Housing For All’ policy further lauded
His thoughts were echoed by fellow constituency Minister of State, Deputy Robert Troy.
“Everyone in Ireland is impacted, or knows someone who is impacted, by Ireland’s current housing difficulties: those who have lost their home; the young couple or single person who is unable to buy; those facing high rents; or the homeless on our streets or in emergency accommodation. These are just some of the scenarios that unfortunately every person in this country can relate to.
“We all know fixing the current housing crisis is complex, there is no silver bullet, but what the government have announced sets us on a path to achieving the supply we need to cater for all our people. I know that individuals and families across Westmeath and Longford have been eagerly awaiting this plan and they will not be disappointed – there really is something in this plan for everyone.
“If you’re a first time buyer or someone looking for a fresh start the government’s ‘First Home’ Shared Equity Scheme, Local Authority Affordable Purchase Scheme and newly expanded Local Authority Home Loan Scheme will help you to step onto the property ladder.
“If you’re someone who is happy renting but want secure tenure without having to worry every time you hang a painting then the Government are providing a whole suite of rent reforms including indefinite tenure and linking rent increases to general inflation as well as committing to providing 18,000 cost rental homes over the lifetime of the plan.
“If you’re within the social housing eligibility limits but have been years waiting on the social housing waiting list while oftentimes sharing cramped accommodation then you can take some comfort in the fact that Government have today committed to significantly scaling up the provision of social housing. 90,000 social homes will be provided between now and 2030,” Deputy Troy asserted.