Doubts have emerged over the delivery of some 365 cost-rental homes by the end of this year.
In February, Minister for Housing Darragh O'Brien announced he had approved funding for the provision of 390 cost-rental homes at eight sites this year, mainly in the greater Dublin area.
The homes, where rents are based on the cost of building, managing and maintaining the homes, and not market rates, were to be provided by approved housing bodies (AHBs) using a new €35 million Cost Rental Equity Loan scheme approved in Budget 2021.
Applications for tenants for the first 25 homes at Taylor’s Hill in Balbriggan were opened last month, with more than 1,000 applying to rent the houses that are aimed at workers who earn too much to qualify for social housing supports, but who cannot afford to buy or rent on the open market.
However, no other schemes have been unveiled and the Department of Housing will not provide details on expected delivery dates or the proposed locations of the remaining 365 homes.
It has also emerged that in relation to at least one of the schemes, 75 homes in Clondalkin, west Dublin, the housing is not scheduled to be completed until next year.
Sinn Féin housing spokesman Eoin Ó Broin said it was now “highly unlikely” the remaining 365 cost-rental homes would be provided this year and it was possible the Balbriggan houses would be the only ones provided through the equity loan scheme in 2021.
“I am very concerned that not all of the 390 cost-rental units will be ready this year, despite the Minister having just last month repeated that they will be ready in 2021,” he said.
“In my own constituency 75 apartments due to be acquired for cost rental will not be ready until next year. I would like the Minister to tell us how many will be ready for tenants this year, and how many are going to be rolled over into 2022.”
The department said the “necessary financial and commercial arrangements in relation to the remaining projects receiving Cost Rental Equity Loan (CREL) finance are being completed by the AHBs concerned”. However, it would not say where these homes would be located and when they would be available for rent.
“When these arrangements are concluded, details of these specific projects, including locations, housing typologies, and cost-covering rents, will be made public, and tenancies advertised by the relevant AHB in due course.”
Separately, the department said 50 apartments would shortly be available to tenants at Enniskerry Road in Sandyford, south Dublin under what was to be the first cost-rental pilot scheme. The development of these apartments was announced in 2017 and construction began in 2019.