Sinn Féin spokesperson on Housing Eoin Ó Broin TD has expressed concern that the defective building working group is considering excluding social homes from any Celtic Tiger latent defects redress scheme.
Teachta Ó Broin said:
“The latent defects working group was established in September 2020 by the Minister for Housing and is due to issue its report on the establishment of a redress scheme this coming June.
“It is deeply concerning that the Department of Housing is trying to exclude social homes from any redress scheme established to remedy Celtic Tiger era fire safety and other structural defects.
“This is completely unacceptable. Any attempt to justify this with reference to the Safe As Houses report is disingenuous.
“As the report’s author, I can safely say that it was always clear to me that council homes and homes owned by Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs) should be included in any redress scheme.
“It is opportunistic to try and suggest otherwise. It is, however, clear that the department does not want to provide access to redress funding for local authority and approved housing bodies.
“There are over 1,000 social homes in Donegal and several hundred in Mayo with mica and pyrite. Clearly, the government is worried that any inclusion of social homes for fire safety defects redress would set a precedent that they desperately want to avoid.
“This is not acceptable. .
“It doesn’t make sense from a financial perspective to exclude these homes. In many cases they are co-located with owner-occupiers in apartment blocks. Remediation could be difficult to achieve and more expensive if all the apartments are not included in a scheme.
“Furthermore, social homes owned by AHBs cannot avail of the tax rebates that private investors do, and are spending their housing maintenance budgets on remediating homes that are defective due to the negligence of builders and the state to adequately police it.
“While we eagerly await the working group’s final report, I would urge the Department to ensure that all properties – apartments, duplexes and houses – are eligible for full redress.
“This must be the case for both homeowners and social landlords.”