Rental Property

*The matter was debated at the November meeting of Clare County Council. 

DEMAND for cost rental units to be included in future social housing developments has been voiced by elected representatives in Clare.

By Adam Maloney

Making this a reality would be difficult to achieve, housing officials in Clare County Council warned.

Cost rental housing provides affordable rented accommodation to people on middle incomes. It is aimed at people who are above the threshold for social housing but have difficulty affording private rented accommodation. It is called ‘cost rental’ because the rent you pay is based on the cost of building, managing and maintaining the homes. It does not include any profit for a developer. This makes the rent cheaper than standard rents.

In a proposal before the local authority, Cllr Liam Grant (GP) appealed to the Council to include cost rental units in any future social housing developments. “There is a serious lack of rental accommodation available in Clare and we need to be doing more as a council to address this. Clare County Council are yet to build any cost rental accommodation. I think it would be a benefit to society to have mixed housing developments like this”.

Acting senior executive officer in the social development directorate of the Council, Padraig MacCormaic said they “appreciate the importance of mixed tenure developments and will consider all viable options when preparing any future social housing developments, including options for affordable housing and cost rental properties”.

MacCormaic continued, “However under the current scheme the rent for cost rental homes must be at least 25% below regular market rents in an area and having regard for long term maintenance costs and the monthly market rent in the area this is difficult to achieve in Clare. The scheme is proving more viable for larger scale apartment developments in larger cities. The new Secure Tenancy Affordable Rental (STAR) Scheme announced recently may provide increased opportunities and a number of developers are exploring viability of same in County Clare and we look forward to receiving proposals in relation to same.

No affordable rental homes have been constructed by the Council, Cllr Grant flagged. “I brought forward this motion due to the serious lack of accommodation in all of Clare, but I remember several years back, it was announced, there would be cost rental housing, affordable housing, but to be honest that hasn’t been seen in Clare at all, and I feel like there’s a lack of desire to execute these kind of house strategies in Clare”.

Lahinch based Liam added, “I think you look at cost rental, I think it would be very successful. I want to see more from Clare County Council on how they’re going to deal with the rental crisis and I think that’s the biggest problem. I know there’s people paying rent, they’re not in a position to buy. That’s putting people on the streets, in their friends couches etc. I just don’t see enough from the council. I think there’s areas where cost rental would be very effective in Clare”.

Widespread support was voiced from across the Chamber for the motion by the Green Party’s sole representative on the Council. Cllr Cillian Murphy (FF) said he “would like to raise the cost rental in the meeting, it’s a problem in this county”.

Cost rental was particularly relevant “especially for the 25-35 year old age group who aren’t interested in buying a house but interested in cost rental housing,” believed Cllr Johnny Flynn (FG).

Chair of the Social Development SPC which has responsibility for housing, Cllr Gerry Flynn (IND) backed the motion and wanted it to go directly to the Department of Housing. “I would put forward it the Department and the conditions attached to that and yet were being told by the Minister they a under constant review. But the review’s not going to happen until 2024, we need to be doing more, and the Minister needs to be doing more to make sure people have access to Council loans and grants available, we need to tweak it slightly, to make it more accessible to people that Cllr Grant is talking about”.

Rental costs need to be tackled, Cllr Grant highlighted. “There is so many people are renting from the state, for example a room in Ennistymon is about €600 and you would struggle to get it, we have to do something to attack the rental costs; it just feels were not doing enough in that market. I would love to see cost rental in the county”.

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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