Changes to the Croí Cónaithe scheme to include rental properties will help more individuals and families find housing in their locality, according to Fine Gael Senator John Cummins.
Senator Cummins, Fine Gael Spokesman on Housing, Local Government and Heritage said: “From today, this hugely popular scheme is being expanded and enhanced to make it more attractive for owners to refurbish vacant and derelict properties for use as a primary residence or for rental.
“Its expansion to include rental properties is something which I have campaigned on for quite some time and I am delighted to see these changes being confirmed today. I believe it will have a positive impact on the availability of rental properties which is something all stakeholders should welcome.
“A further change I have campaigned on is to increase the grant levels for the scheme from its current €30,000 and €50,000 to better reflect the costs involved in bringing a vacant and derelict property back into productive use. The new rates which will apply are €50,000 for a vacant property of two years, while the enhanced grant will now rise to €70,000 for properties which are derelict or certified as requiring structural works”.
In a further change, eligible properties will now only have to be built prior to 2007, rather than 1993 under the previous rules which is expected to bring a further cohort of properties into the scope of the scheme.
Senator Cummins continued: “One very important point which I raised at last week’s Joint Oireachtas Committee was the need for the revised grant amounts to be paid to those who have already received approval for the original grant amount. I’m delighted that this suggestion has also been taken on board because it would have clogged up the process if applicants with approval had to reapply for the higher grant amounts.
“The public has seen what is possible from TV programmes such as ‘Cheap Irish Homes’, ‘Room to Improve’ and the ‘Great House Revival’. There is no doubt the appetite is there to see such properties being restored to their former glory for future generations and the decisions made today to enhance the scheme will have a positive impact on the supply of much needed homes for rent and permanent residence.
“When combined with the SEAI One Stop Shop retrofit grants, it is now possible, following these changes, to get nearly €100,000 in grant support towards renovating a vacant and derelict property.
“This makes it a very attractive option and I expect these changes to turbo charge the activation of vacant and derelict properties which will have a very positive impact in reducing vacancy across our cities, towns, villages and rural areas across the country. It is essential that the Local Authority prioritise these applications as a matter of urgency, allowing owners to kickstart projects without delay.”