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New cost rental scheme will mean tenants could pay 25% to 30% below market rents, says minister

The cost rental scheme will deliver 400 homes.

Image: Shutterstock/Elena Zhi

A NEW COST rental scheme will mean tenants could pay 25% to 30% below market rents, according to Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien. 

Speaking to reporters today about the €3.1 billion housing budget announced yesterday, the minister said the new cost rental scheme costing €35 million will deliver 400 homes.

However, when asked for specifics about what rents tenants will pay, the minister said it depends where the homes are located in the country.

He said more detail would be outlined in the legislation that is due to be brought to the Dáil before Christmas.

An affordable housing scheme also forms part of the minister’s objectives for 2021. 

O’Brien said today that detailed preparation of the new scheme was signed off on last month, which will deliver 2,000 houses under the plan. 

The minister said “not all” of the 2,000 houses will be delivered next year. 

He said €75 million will is assigned to the affordable housing scheme.

The minister said next year’s pledge of delivering 9,500 social houses was a significant increase on last year, a rise of 22%, he said.

However the minister acknowledged that just over 700 of the homes promised this year had been built by June, stating that Covid-19 restrictions had seriously impacted on the delivery of this year’s targets.

The minister is confident the department will make up for the slow start, adding that he hopes to reach 60%-70% of this year’s target by the end of the year.

As the country possibly faces into further restrictions in the week and months ahead, the minister said he would keep construction sites open even if the country moves to Level 4 or Level 5.

He said construction services are essential services, stating that while the sector closed down in the first wave of the pandemic, work practices had changed to ensure social distancing and other health measures. 

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“Construction will remain an essential service. I do not envisage a shut down in the construction sector… we will not see a shut down in the construction sector,” he said.

Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson, Eoin Ó Broin criticised the minister’s plans today, stating that the affordable housing scheme is “very unclear” and there are “no targets for how many homes will be delivered through this fund in 2021″.
 
“The minister also announced a new affordable fund of €110m. Part of this would be used to finance 400 cost rental homes though with no timeline for delivery. The remainder is to be used for an as yet unspecified shared equity loan for the purchase of private homes,” he said. 

One thing he agreed with the minister on is that construction workers should be classed as essential workers if the country moves towards tighter restrictions.

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