Do you own a residential property that is vacant for more than one year and requires repairs to bring it up to a standard for renting? If the answer is YES, then you may wish to avail of a new Repair & Leasing Scheme offered by Laois County Council.
Please be advised, five new changes have been announced, the following will take effect from Feburary 1st 2018
LA’s may now enter into Rental Availability Agreements (RAAs) with property owners,
The minimum lease term has been reduced from 10 to 5 years,
Extension of the scheme to allow unfinished properties in limited circumstances
Apportionment of funds between one of more properties
Additional funding is available for former bedsits
What is the Repair and Leasing Scheme?
- The Repair and Leasing Scheme (RLS) has been developed under Rebuilding Ireland to assist property owners in bringing vacant properties back into use.
- Where a property requires repairs to bring it up to the standard for required for rented properties, the RLS will pay for the repairs up-front in return for the property being made available to be used as social housing for a period of at least 5 years under either a direct lease or Rental Availability Arrangement with the local authority.
- Under the scheme, the cost of the repairs will be repaid by the owner by offsetting it against the rent due to the owner for the property over the period of the lease agreement.
How much funding is available?
- The maximum funding available is €40,000, inclusive of VAT.
- Where the property is a former bedsit being brought into line with the Standards for Rented Houses, funding of up to €50,000, inclusive of VAT, is available.
What kind of repairs will be paid for under the scheme?
- The ideal properties targeted under the RLS will require a low level of investment to bring them to the required standard for renting. The majority of works will include items such as, for example:
- new flooring, kitchen, furniture;
- low grade plumbing or heating works, energy efficiency upgrades;
- window and door upgrades or replacements;
- painting and decorating.
- It is not envisaged that any level of significant structural works will be needed and in the majority of cases no planning permissions will be required.
What are the minimum requirements?
There are a number of requirements in relation to the scheme, including:
- the property must be vacant for at least 12 months before entering the scheme;
- there must be a social housing demand for the property in the area;
- the property must be assessed as being viable to provide social housing.
For how long must the property be made available for social housing?
- The minimum lease term is 5 years and the maximum term is 20 years. Within those limits, the length and type lease can be negotiated with the local authority and the duration may depend on the cost of the upgrade works.
What are the benefits of RLS to a property owner?
- As a property owner under RLS may choose whether to enter into:
- a direct lease, or
- a Rental Availability Arrangement, with a local authority.
- Where the owner chooses to enter into a direct leasing arrangement, he local authority or AHB will be the landlord of the property; the property owner will have no landlord responsibilities.
- Where the owner chooses to enter into a Rental Availability Arrangement with the local authority, the owner of the property will have be the landlord to the tenant and carry out the responsibilities of the landlord.
- The properties acquired under both arrangements will be offered by the local authority or the AHB as accommodation to households who have been approved by the local authority for social housing.
What are the benefits of RLS to a property owner?
RLS provides significant benefits to the property owner, including:
- Guaranteed rent on a property that has not been generating an income;
- Upgrade of property that might otherwise become derelict;
- No loss of rent during vacant periods;
- No need to collect rent or find new tenants;
- No advertising costs.
What is the Buy & Renew Scheme?
As an alternative and to complement the Repair and Leasing Scheme is the “The ‘Buy and Renew’ scheme. This scheme aims to support Local Authorities (LAs) and Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs) to purchase and renew housing units that require remediation, and make them available for social housing use in areas of housing need. This is to enhance and support urban and rural renewal and the vacant homes strategy. Accordingly LAs and AHBs are looking to buy houses and suitable premises in cities, towns and villages where there is a need for social and/or special needs housing. The focus under the scheme, while not exclusive to, is on older stock, and in particular derelict properties which when complete will improve streetscapes and provide much needed accommodation. Up to €25 million is available for the ‘Buy and Renew’ Scheme in 2017 and depending on interest, up to €50 million in 2018.
PH: 057 8664130