Council plans to sell €2m Clontarf properties when crisis ends

Former B&B bought to house homeless families to be sold ‘in a few years’


Dublin City Council hopes to resell the €2 million properties it acquired to house homeless families in Clontarf once the current housing crisis has ended.

The two adjoining properties on St Lawrence Road, in Clontarf were purchased by the Housing Agency and handed over to Dublin City Council to provide accommodation for 13 families who are homeless and in commercial hotels.

The properties, which were sold for €194,000 above the original asking price of €1.8million, had together been used as a B&B.

In correspondence seen by The Irish Times, Brendan Kenny, who is Dublin city council’s assistant chief executive of housing and community services, outlined in an email to the St Lawrence’s residents’ association that the council’s “hope” was to resell the property once the current homeless crisis has ended.

“We are very conscious of the excellent environs of this premises and it is our intention to ensure that the new use (including the exterior of the premises) will be totally indistinguishable from its previous use,” said Mr Kenny.

“It is unclear at present how long it will take us to resolve the current extreme housing situation in Dublin but I would hope that in a few years we could put this premises back out to the private market for sale,” he added.

Mr Kenny reiterated the sentiments expressed in his email on Tuesday, telling The Irish Times that the council hopes to be in a position to “dispose” of the property in the future. To date the housing agency has purchased over 200 individual properties to help with the ongoing homelessness crisis.

“In relation to the property at St Lawrence’s we would hope to be in a position to dispose of it some time in the future but it is not possible in the current climate to give a timeline for such a disposal,” said Mr Kenny.

“We do have an ongoing programme for the purchase of individual houses and apartments throughout the city

The housing and community service department in Dublin City Council said it would prefer to acquire properties that are ready to move into but invariably there are some refurbishments and upgrading required to satisfy current building standards.

“We do have an ongoing programme for the purchase of individual houses and apartments throughout the city. We acquired close to 200 in 2016 and such acquisitions are continuing during 2017,” he added.

A spokesman for the Minister for Housing, Simon Coveney, told The Irish Times that “statutory responsibility” in relation to the provision of homeless accommodation and related services rests with individual housing authorities. This means it is up to each county council to decide what to do with properties once the current need for them has ceased.

“A number of approaches are being taken by local authorities to respond to housing needs and meet the needs of homeless people within their areas. These include targeted acquisitions, the new repair and leasing initiative and a range of other programmes, such as the rental accommodation scheme, housing assistance payment and various leasing arrangements through approved housing bodies,” said a spokesman for Mr Coveney.

“Properties sourced under these programmes are used to accommodate persons on the local authority housing waiting lists, including those in emergency accommodation or at risk of homelessness,” he added.

A number of residents beside the two adjoining properties remain opposed to their use as a council “family hub” for homeless people.