A call has been made for an end to a rule that means some local authority tenants will never be able to buy their homes from their local council.
Galway West Independent TD Noel Grealish said that there was unfair discrimination against people living in ‘Part V’ homes that were secured by local councils in private estates.
Part V of the Planning and Development Act requires developers to set aside a certain percentage of land for the provision of social and affordable housing.
But these homes are then excluded from a scheme, brought in at the start of 2016, that allows other local authority tenants to buy their homes.
The issue was raised by Deputy Grealish in a Dáil question to the Minister for Housing, in which he asked that the rules be changed to give these tenants an equal opportunity to buy their homes.
“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.
“In the majority of cases, these people will be living in their homes for the rest of their lives and the properties won’t ever become available for renting to other local authority tenants.
“On the other hand, the income stream that Galway City Council or Galway County Council and other local authorities would get from selling these properties to their long-term tenants would help the councils to fund badly needed additional housing stock,” said Deputy Grealish.
In response to the Galway TD’s Dáil question, Simon Coveney, the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government, said that the Part V provisions were designed to enable the development of mixed tenure, sustainable communities.
“Part V units are excluded from the Tenant (Incremental) Purchase Scheme to ensure that units delivered under this mechanism will remain available for people in need of social housing support and that the original policy goals of the legislation are not eroded over time.
“The continued development of mixed tenure communities remains very important in promoting social integration,” said the Minister.
However, Mr Coveney added that a review of the tenant purchase scheme would be initiated this month following its first 12 months of operation “and any changes to the terms and conditions of the scheme which are considered necessary based on the evidence gathered at that stage will be brought forward”.
Deputy Grealish said he hoped that the review of the scheme would show up the sense of extending it to people in private housing estates whose homes were provided under the ‘Part V’ process.
“We’re talking about fair play here … and a change could actually mean more local authority homes being provided with the money raised from these sales,” he added.