A new scheme that will allow owners of vacant properties who wish to rent them out but who can't afford the repair costs is being launched by the council.
Vacant homes owners can now get €40,000 upfront once they agree to lease their properties to the council for a lease period of no less than 10 years.
The cost of the repairs will then be recouped against the rental income over that period.
Fergus O'Dowd, Fine Gael TD has welcomed the pilot repair and lease scheme that targets vacant properties and secures them for social housing.
"I called on the Minister to introduce this scheme in both Louth and Meath last October and again this January, to fast track the availability of social housing.
“Over 4,000 properties currently lie vacant in Co. Louth alone; this scheme will enable vacant properties to be brought back into use as new homes for families on local authority waiting lists.
"The hope is that many local property owners will recognise the opportunity the scheme presents for them. Up front financing on the cost of repairs, no involvement in the arranging the works and a secure and reliable income from regular rental payments, without having to take on many of the landlord responsibilities that so many people are wary of.
“The maximum costs of repairs allowable under this initiative will be €40,000 which will in many cases be more than enough to rejuvenate these types of properties.
"The Repair and Leasing Scheme is one of a number of initiatives within the Governments housing strategy that will help address the vacant property problem we have here in County Louth.
“This new scheme is part of a raft of important new initiatives, including the Buy and Renew Scheme which provides funding for local authorities to purchase and refurbish vacant properties and a new National Vacant Housing Re-Use Strategy which is currently being finalised.
"I would strongly urge local vacant property owners to contact our local authorities and register their interest so we can utilise the available national fund."
The scheme is targeted at owners of vacant properties who cannot afford or access the funding required to bring them up to the standard for rental property. Subject to the suitability of the property for social housing, and the agreement of the property owner, the cost of the necessary repairs will be met up-front by the local authority or an approved housing body (AHB).
This allows for the property owner to sign-up to a lease arrangement for a length that is linked to the value of the repairs, subject to a minimum of 10 years. The value of the repairs will then be offset incrementally against the agreed rental payment over a defined period within the lease.
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