3 Key Asks
- Increase the supply of public, social, and affordable housing via not-for-profit sector
We strongly believe that State funded social and affordable housing should only be undertaken by the not-for-profit sector via Local Authorities and Approved Housing Bodies, whilst recognising that the private sector can play a key role in supporting development delivery at fair and reasonable prices.
We wholeheartedly back increasing the social housing stock by a minimum of 50,000 homes over five years, with a firm emphasis on new builds.We ask that Government commits to the provision of €1.5 billion capital funding for the AHB sector to use to leverage private finance in order to deliver at least 50% of the overall minimum target, or 25,000 homes.
We ask Government to ensure that the aim of delivering additional social and affordable homes is paramount when finalising regulation and that regulation should not inadvertently inhibit the scaling up the output of new homes. We look forward to a proportionate statutory regulation regime.
We support an increase in Part V from 10% social to a minimum 20% Social & Affordable. We ask that discretion remains with Local Authorities to determine the breakdown of social and affordable homes, based on local housing need and desired tenure mix but it is never less than 10% social and that flexibility for Councils to complete off-site deals is permitted, providing value for money is obtained.
We ask for VAT and development levies to be waived for AHB’s on capital investment costs for the delivery of social and affordable homes in order to reduce the overall cost of production.
To support the objective of delivering value for money via the AHB sector we ask that the Department works with the AHB sector to achieve a reclassification to non-profit institutions serving households (NPISH) status and to identify and make the necessary changes to achieve this goal.
- Defining & Delivering Affordability
We request that Government define ‘affordability’ and that the definition is clearly differentiated from Cost Rental terminology. Our recommendation is that the term ‘affordable’, be measured as a percentage of a household’s income used to pay rent, such as no more than 30% of net income.
To support Cost Rental building we request the allocation of a dedicated budget for the next five years. Due to the increased risks for AHBs, we propose a safety net for AHBs in a permanent Cost Rental scheme as a risk mitigation measure. This would allow for the possibility of significant open market rent reductions, presumably the ultimate policy aim, which could by default make cost rental homes potentially uncompetitive on price and hard to let in the future. Additionally, we ask for VAT to be waived for AHBs on the construction and delivery of cost rental and affordable homes to further improve affordability and reduce rents to consumers.
- Environmental Sustainability
With the help of government, the Housing Alliance and wider AHB sector aims to rise to the challenge of decarbonising homes. Retrofitting homes to improve energy efficiency will not only help to eliminate fuel poverty and reduce the carbon footprint of AHB’s over the long-term, it will also boost the economy in the short-term.
We ask for VAT on capital investment costs to improve the energy efficiency of homes in order to create warmer and healthier homes for all tenants to be waived for AHBs coupled with a commitment to subsidising energy upgrading costs in AHB housing stock though continued grant funding from SEAI.