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Dáil Question on Shared Housing Ownership Schemes

Question No. 504 

To ask the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government with regard to the review of Part V of the Planning and Development Act 2000, which was published on 30 July 2013, has the Housing and Sustainable Communities Agency provided a stand alone analysis of the shared ownership scheme, including identification of the main difficulties and recommendations for mitigating measures; when is it expected that a change to the legislation governing affordable housing schemes, including the shared ownership scheme will be made; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

– Anthony Lawlor.

For WRITTEN answer on Wednesday, 15th January, 2014.

Ref No: 1182/14

REPLY

Minister of State at the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government (Ms. J. O’Sullivan)

The Government’s 2011 housing policy statement announced the standing down of all affordable housing schemes, including the shared ownership scheme, in the context of a full review of Part V of the Planning and Development Act. Details regarding the review are available on my Department’s website www.environ.ie ; the period for public submissions closed on 27 September 2013 and submissions made by a variety of interested parties are now under consideration. I expect to be in a position to formulate future policy approaches and actions, taking account of the consultation process, early in 2014.

In addition, in 2013 I asked the Housing & Sustainable Communities Agency to conduct a standalone review of the shared ownership scheme, including identification of the main difficulties and recommendations for mitigating measures. While I have received an initial draft of the review from the Agency a number of issues have been identified that need further detailed financial analysis in order to fully assess the impact on local authority finances of possible mitigating measures. This additional work is underway and I expect to make further recommendations to bring the review process to a conclusion in the very near future.

Pending full conclusion of this review, my Department recently issued a circular to local authorities setting out some of the options that might be explored to alleviate the difficulties of those in shared ownership distress. These include clarification on renting of rooms and the announcement of the nationwide extension of the Local Authority Mortgage-to-Rent (LAMTR) scheme following the successful completion of a pilot scheme in two local authority areas. To support the national rollout of LAMTR, with the support of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform and the Housing Finance Agency, I will be allocating an additional €20m to the Mortgage Arrears Resolution Process (MARP) fund in 2014 to significantly expand the capacity of that resource to assist shared ownership households in mortgage distress.