Fingal County Council is calling on owners of vacant properties in the county to enter into discussions about leasing them to the Council on short or long term contracts.
The Government has targeted bringing 3,500 vacant units back into use across the country as part of its Rebuilding Ireland programme and Fingal County Council has decided to take a proactive approach according to Director of Housing and Community, Margaret Geraghty.
“According to the 2016 Census there are 5,655 vacant housing units in the county which represents 5.5 per cent of the total housing stock. We believe that many of these properties are owned by people who are not sure what to do with them and we are suggesting that they should come and talk to us about the options open to them.
“We can enter into short or long term leases or even purchase the property but, first and foremost, we want to have a conversation with the owners of these vacant properties,” said Ms Geraghty.
Among the benefits for owners who decide to lease their vacant properties to the Council will be competitive rental rates; a guaranteed monthly income; no loss of income if the property becomes vacant and a 100 per cent tax deductible rate on mortgage interest if the property is leased to Council.
“By leasing their vacant property to the Council, owners will no longer have the hassle of looking after the property or seeking tenants. We will take care of all that and, in addition to a guarantee monthly income, they will also have the satisfaction of knowing that they are helping to alleviate the current housing crisis,” said Ms Geraghty.
With a population of 296,214, and a growth rate of 8.1 per cent, Fingal is the fastest growing county in Ireland. However, according to Census 2016, the housing stock in the county grew by just 2,812 units which, at 2.7 per cent, is considerably lower than the population growth.
Fingal has 5,655 vacant housing units which represents 5.5 per cent of the total housing stock in the county and is the second lowest vacancy in the country. The Council currently has 316 families who are homeless, or about to become homeless, and there are currently over 9,000 people on the housing list.
The Government is due to announce that €140m will be made available for a “repair and lease” scheme as part of the Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan but Ms Geraghty said that Fingal had decided not to wait until next year, when this scheme comes on stream, to advertise for vacant properties. “It is being piloted at present in three counties but we felt that we need to act now and get moving on bringing as many vacant properties as we can into the social housing stock. We believe that many of the owners of these properties do not see themselves as landlords and are not sure what to do with the properties. We are asking them to come and talk to us and see what we are offering.”