Public representatives have expressed outrage about a new government scheme which will see councils buy up vacant properties and sell them off to the highest bidder. The URDF Round 3 scheme was introduced by the government to provide targeted support to regenerate and rejuvenate large towns and cities. €150 million is being made available for local authorities to buy, either by agreement or CPO, vacant or derelict properties, refurbish them and then sell them on the open market with a requirement to achieve the best possible price.
Properties must be long term vacant and not currently on the market for sale. They must result in residential use. There is a cap of €430 000 per property for purchase and refurbishment. Only if a property fails to sell can it be used for social housing. The scheme is now open for applications from local authorities.
People Before Profit councillor on South Dublin County Council Madeleine Johansson commented: “This new scheme is absolutely outrageous. We’re in the middle of a housing crisis and the government has decided to give another leg-up to landlords and vulture funds. I fully support the council buying up vacant properties but they should be used for social or affordable housing, not be sold off to a private investor or landlord. I will not be voting against the sell-off of any property that could be used for social housing.”
People Before Profit TD for Dublin Midwest Gino Kenny said: “This URDF scheme is just another hand-out to landlords and vulture funds. We could see taxpayers’ money being used to buy and refurbish properties, only for them to be sold off to a landlord and rented out for €2000 per month under the HAP scheme. Instead of this madness, councils should be funded to CPO vacant properties for social and affordable housing for families and individuals who are in desperate need of housing.”