What is the Repair and Leasing Scheme?
The Repair and Leasing Scheme (RLS) has been developed under Rebuilding Ireland to assist property owners in bringing vacant properties back into use.
Where a property requires repairs to bring it up to the standard required for rented properties, the RLS will pay for the repairs up-front in return for the property being leased to a local authority or Approved Housing Body (AHB) to be used as social housing for a period of at least 10 years.
Under the scheme, the cost of the repairs will be repaid by the owner by offsetting it against the rent due to the owner for the property over the period of the lease agreement.
How much funding is available?
The maximum funding available is €40,000, inclusive of VAT.
What kind of repairs will be paid for under the scheme?
The ideal properties targeted under the RLS will require a low level of investment to bring them to the required standard for renting. The majority of works will include items such as:
- new flooring, kitchen, furniture;
- low grade plumbing or heating works, energy efficiency upgrades;
- window and door upgrades or replacements;
- painting and decorating.
It is not envisaged that any level of significant structural works will be needed and in the majority of cases no planning permissions will be required.
What are the minimum requirements?
There are a number of requirements in relation to the scheme, including:
- the property must be vacant for at least 12 months before entering the scheme;
- there must be a social housing demand for the property in the area;
- the property must be assessed as being viable to provide social housing.
For how long must the property be made available for social housing?
The minimum lease term is 10 years and the maximum term is 20 years. Within those limits, the length of the lease can be negotiated with the local authority and the duration may depend on the cost of the upgrade works.
Who will be the landlord of the property?
The local authority or AHB will be the landlord of the property; the property owner will have no landlord responsibilities. The properties acquired under this arrangement will be offered by the local authority or the AHB as accommodation to households who have been approved by the local authority for social housing.
What are the benefits of RLS to a property owner?
RLS provides significant benefits to the property owner, including:
- Guaranteed rent on a property that has not been generating an income;
- Upgrade of property that might otherwise become derelict;
- No loss of rent during vacant periods;
- No dealing with tenants or day-to-day maintenance;
- No need to collect rent or find new tenants;
- No advertising costs;
- The return of the property at the end of the term in good repair and condition, save for fair wear and tear.
What is the Buy & Renew Scheme?
As an alternative and to complement the Repair and Leasing Scheme is the “The ‘Buy and Renew’ scheme that was announced recently by Minister Coveney. This scheme aims to support Local Authorities (LAs) and Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs) to purchase and renew housing units that require remediation, and make them available for social housing use in areas of housing need. This is to enhance and support urban and rural renewal and the vacant homes strategy. Accordingly LAs and AHBs are looking to buy houses and suitable premises in cities, towns and villages where there is a need for social and/or special needs housing. The focus under the scheme, while not exclusive to, is on older stock, and in particular derelict properties which when complete will improve streetscapes and provide much needed accommodation. Up to €25 million is available for the ‘Buy and Renew’ Scheme in 2017 and depending on interest, up to €50 million in 2018.
How do I apply?
Property owners seeking to apply for the scheme, or seeking further information, should contact their local authority.