Model would provide affordable homes for those who cannot afford to buy a home of their own but do not qualify for social housing
The incoming Government must prioritise the provision of affordable, secure housing for long-term renters. That’s according to the Housing Alliance, a collaboration of six of Ireland’s largest Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs).
The organisation said thousands of people across Ireland who do not qualify for social housing need good-quality, affordable housing where they can put down roots knowing they have long-term security. The network also said that Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs) have a central role to play in delivering affordable, secure housing for long-term renters.
The Alliance has written to all parties involved in Government negotiations in recent days, urging them to make affordable rental housing provided by AHBs a central pillar of housing policy in the new Programme for Government. AHBs have built, owned and managed over 22,000 homes and have a strong track record of building and managing quality housing that also supports the building of communities. In other European countries, intermediate rental property acts to counter the ‘boom and bust’ cycles which plague the Irish housing market, the Housing Alliance said.
Declan Dunne, Chair of the Housing Alliance, said the average earner pays more for their rented housing than others do for alternative housing options.
“Many families and individuals need secure affordable rental housing,” he said. “Currently, the only option open to them is to pay high rents in the private market. Though their incomes are relatively low or moderate, they do not qualify for social housing. We need an intermediate model of affordable rental homes at rents below these high private-market rents. The not-for-profit Approved Housing Bodies are already delivering homes in partnership with Local Authorities and are best placed to build and manage these affordable homes.”
The average cost of buying a home is €267,000 nationally, and €374,000 in Dublin. To get a mortgage for €267,000, you would need a deposit of at least €26,700 and an annual income in the region of €76,000. However, CSO figures show that the median gross income per household is just over €45,000.
How an Affordable Rental Scheme Would Work
The type of scheme being proposed by the Housing Alliance would see AHBs and Local Authorities acquiring and constructing housing developments specifically for long-term affordable rental purposes, with rents priced at up to 75% of prevailing market rents. The housing – with long-term security of tenure – would be allocated to renters based on defined minimum and maximum household income eligibility limits.
“This model would not displace social housing. Rather, it would provide a valuable addition to the housing market for those on incomes above social housing income thresholds but still struggling to keep a roof over their heads,” said Declan Dunne.
“We envisage such a scheme having a stabilising effect on the broader private rental market. It would serve to counter the ‘boom and bust’ cycles that have plagued the Irish housing market in recent decades.”
Key Role for AHBs
“Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs) have been at the forefront of innovative housing delivery for many years and we have an established network of delivery partners across private developers; local authorities; the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government; the Housing Finance Agency; the Housing Agency; Owner Management Companies; charities; and other service-providers. We look forward to working with the new Government to ensure the successful development and rollout of an affordable rental scheme,” said Mr. Dunne.