Rules which allow some local authority tenants to purchase the houses they rent, but which prevent others from doing so, must be scrapped, so all tenants are on an equal footing, with equal opportunities for future home ownership.
This is the view of Independent Galway West TD Noel Grealish, who is demanding an end to the "unfair discrimination" against people living in Part V homes, as opposed to those local authority tenants whose homes were not built under that scheme.
Part V of the Planning and Development Act requires developers set aside a certain percentage of land for social and affordable housing in private estates. However such homes are excluded from the Tenant (Incremental ) Purchase Scheme, introduced by towards the end of last year, which permits local authority tenants to buy the house they rent, provided it is not a Part V house.
Dep Grealish is demanding this situation be changed, and tenants given "an equal opportunity to buy their homes". Speaking in the Dáil on the issue, he said: "It really doesn’t make sense that some local authority tenants are given the chance to buy their homes and others are prevented from ever doing so."
He said giving the option to buy to all local authority tenants made financial sense: “The income stream the Galway city and county councils would get from selling these properties to long-term tenants would help the councils to fund badly needed additional housing stock."
In response, the Minister for Housing, Simon Coveney, said Part V units are excluded from the Tenant (Incremental ) Purchase Scheme to ensure "units delivered under this mechanism remain available for people in need of social housing and that the original policy goals of the legislation are not eroded over time".
However, Minister Coveney added that a review of the tenant purchase scheme would be initiated this month, and any changes to the terms and conditions of the scheme which are considered necessary, "based on the evidence gathered at that stage", would be brought forward.
Dep Grealish said he hoped that the review of the scheme would reveal "the sense of extending it to people "in private housing estates whose homes were provided under the Part V process.