Just 26 of Dublin council tenants use scheme to buy home

Those eligible may receive up to 60% off market value, depending on their income

All tenants who were eligible to purchase their tenancy were notified by letter.

All tenants who were eligible to purchase their tenancy were notified by letter.

 

An initiative which offered discounts of 40-60 per cent on the market value of the properties has been taken up by just 26 council house tenants in Dublin.

More than 11,000 tenants were offered the opportunity to buy their properties as part of a tenant-purchase scheme proposed by Dublin City Council.

The scheme, which took effect from January 2016 and became operational in April 2016, offers discounts of up to twice those offered under the last scheme.

All tenants who were eligible to purchase their tenancy were notified by letter. A council spokeswoman said 230 applications were made, with a total of 26 houses sold to date. The average sale price is €100,000.

Under the scheme, applicants earning more than €30,000 per year receive 40 per cent off the price; those with an income of €20,000-€30,000 pay 50 per cent of the market value; and those with an income of €15,000-€10,000 get a discount of 60 per cent.

Under the terms of the scheme, residents of one-bedroom homes and 775 people living alone in three- and four-bed houses were excluded from the scheme as a consequence of the housing shortage in the city.

National scheme

Tenants of council houses have been able to buy their homes from individual local authorities since the 1930s, and a national scheme for the sale of council houses was introduced in 1973. The latest scheme offers discounts based not on the longevity of the tenancy, but on the income of the tenant.

Sinn Féin housing spokesman Eoin Ó Broin said the scheme needs to be reformed as the criteria is too restrictive. He said the scheme over a number of decades has contributed to an overall depletion of the social housing stock.

“All round this scheme is badly designed and I’m not surprised it isn’t working,” said Mr Ó Broin. “The discounts people got houses for were exceptionally generous and there was no length of stay before you were eligible to purchase. Historically you had to be in the house a certain time to avail of the discount.

“In the context of the housing crisis – when housing supply is at a critical level in Dublin – selling houses, particularly in high-demand areas with low housing stock isn’t necessarily a good idea.”

“Giving somebody a 60 per cent discount on a council house someone may have only lived in for a year makes no sense. If somebody is living there for 30 or 40 years they are entitled to buy their home but is it fair for people who have only lived there for a year or two?”