Kerry County Council Search on for Vacant Properties

Would an uptake of the Kerry County Council plan for vacant properties make a difference to the quietness of towns like Castleisland ? ©Photograph: john Reidy

Would an uptake of the Kerry County Council plan for vacant properties make a difference to the quietness of towns like Castleisland ? ©Photograph: john Reidy

 Kerry County Council has issued a call for properties which have been vacant for more than one year for possible use for social housing purposes.

The newly launched Repair and Leasing Scheme targets vacant properties as a possible source of social housing and provides property owners with an income stream that may be otherwise unavailable.

Funded by Local Authority

The scheme provides that repair and improvement works to bring such properties up to the standard for rented accommodation are funded by the relevant local authority, in this case, Kerry County Council. The cost of the works is then deducted from rent/lease payments over an agreed lease term of at least ten years.

Cllr. Bobby O'Connell and Danny Healy Rae,TD  - welcomes but differing opinions on the new scheme. ©Photographs:  John Reidy

Cllr. Bobby O’Connell and Danny Healy Rae,TD – welcomes but differing opinions on the new scheme. ©Photographs: John Reidy

Cllr. Bobby O’Connell feels that Castleisland could become a catalyst for this scheme and that it is ideally poised and equipped with the kind of vacant properties to suit the proposals and to revitalise the town.

“I’ve mentioned this to Housing Minister Simon Coveney several times over the last couple of years.

“I feel that Castleisland and many other towns and villages like it would benefit greatly from having people living in suitable accommodation over shops along the main streets.

“I grew up over a shop on Main Street and so did a small army of others. The street was our playground and there was great life about the place.

“I think this scheme will work well for many reasons. All the vital services, electricity, sewage and water are already connected. It will eliminate the need for one-off housing, most of the people who take up the offer to live in town won’t need the expense of a car. The schools, the church and the local shop are all within easy walking distance from any part of the town.

“There are many properties here in town which people have inherited and they either don’t know what to do with them or can’t raise the money to renovate them, this scheme will be ideal for them and they’ll get their property back after ten years spick and span and the rent in the meantime. I think it’s a great scheme,” said Cllr. O’Connell.

Deputy Danny Healy Rae, however, is somewhat less welcoming towards the scheme:

“While I welcome this initiative as it is I would like to point out that it is not all that it is made out to be or all that it should be.

“It is not a grant, it is a loan that must be repaid. It will not be available to applicants in every part of the county, only where there is pressure for social housing or the unavailability of social housing.

“Interested property owners should note that the date applications have to be submitted by is Thursday, June 1st which is just two weeks away,” said Deputy Healy Rae.

About the Scheme

There are a number of requirements in relation to the scheme:

The scheme is not available for private renting.

The property must be vacant for at least 12 months.

There has to be a social housing demand for the property locally.

The property has to be viable to provide accommodation.

The minimum lease term is dependent on the cost of repairs with a minimum lease period of 10 years and a maximum period of 20 years.

The maximum cost of repairs allowable under the scheme will be €40,000.

The lease payments will be based on the general terms of social leasing which is set at 80% (85% for apartments) of the current market rental rates in the property location.

The scope and cost of the works are agreed between the owner and Kerry County Council

All Areas Considered

Properties in all areas will be considered but in particular the council is anxious to source properties in the main towns and villages in the county.

The benefits for those considering availing of the scheme includes: Upgrade your property at no capital outlay from your own resources; Guaranteed rent; No loss of rent during vacant periods; No collection of rent or finding a new tenant; No dealing with tenants or routine maintenance or no advertising costs.

Further Details

Application forms and further details are available on Kerry County Council’s website, www.kerrycoco.ie, or by contacting the Housing Department at 066 7183645 or by email at kerryrls@kerrycoco.ie

 Interested property owners should complete the application form and submit the relevant documents to the Housing Department, Kerry County Council, County Buildings, Tralee, Co Kerry on or before Thursday, 1st June, 2017.

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