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Written Answers. - Social Housing Projects.

Tuesday, 3 December 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 558 No. 4

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 404. Mr. Perry Information on John Perry Zoom on John Perry  asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government Information on Martin Cullen Zoom on Martin Cullen  the plans he has in place to allow persons in Respond-Cluide housing to have the option to purchase the house in view of the fact that many occupants carry out refurbishment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24325/02]

Minister for the Environment and Local Government (Mr. Cullen): Information on Martin Cullen Zoom on Martin Cullen There are no plans to make provision in my Department's voluntary housing capital assistance and capital loan and subsidy schemes for the purchase of individual houses by tenants. A tenant purchase scheme is not desirable at this stage of the development of the voluntary housing sector here as the sale of individual housing units would undermine the capacity and resources of voluntary housing bodies to manage and maintain their estates and continue to provide further housing projects to meet pressing needs.

Residents of more than one year's duration of houses provided under the voluntary housing schemes who wish to become owner occupiers may, on surrendering their house to the approved voluntary housing body, qualify for the following benefits: special mortgage allowance of €11,450 over five years for mortgages created on or after 1 January 2002 to assist with mortgage repayments; the shared ownership scheme, without having to satisfy the income eligibility criteria; improvement works in lieu scheme in respect of the dwelling they are acquiring; low cost housing sites scheme and exemption from the income limits for local authority loans. Full details of these options are available from local authorities.

Management and maintenance of dwellings provided under the schemes is the responsibility of the relevant voluntary housing body. In accordance with the terms and conditions for management and letting, approved housing bodies are the owners and have the responsibility for the proper management of their dwellings, adequate repairs and maintenance systems to ensure the preservation of the dwellings and compliance with all relevant statutory regulations. Tenants are often involved through management committees in the management and upkeep of projects, particularly communal areas. However, they are not responsible for refurbishment of their dwellings.

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