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Government Approves Measure to Ensure Home Ownership as Tenure Type is Provided for in Local Authority Housing Strategies

The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien, TD, has welcomed the Government’s approval for the drafting of a legislative amendment that will require local authorities to ensure home ownership as a tenure type is provided for and estimated in their Housing Strategies. The amendment will give further legislative effect to the provisions of Section 28 Guidelines for Planning Authorities ‘Regulation of Commercial Institutional Investment in Housing’, issued in May 2021. The guidelines are aimed at ensuring new ‘own-door’ houses and duplex units in housing developments are not bulk-purchased by commercial institutional investors in a manner that causes the displacement of individual purchasers and/or social and affordable housing (including Cost Rental housing).

The proposed amendment is an action in Housing for All, the Government’s national plan for housing, and is due to be implemented in Quarter 4 2021. Action 1.10 is: “Introduce a form of ‘owner occupier guarantee’, which will enable Local Authorities to designate a specified number of houses and duplexes in a development for owner occupiers.”

Housing strategies, which are prepared as part of a local authority’s Development Plan review process, consider and specify an area’s housing need requirements during a Development Plan’s lifetime.

Welcoming the Government decision, Minister O’Brien said: “This proposed change is one of many measures in Housing for All that aims to increase access to home ownership. It will ensure that all local authorities, through their Housing Strategies, estimate and include the housing need for individual purchasers (as well as social and affordable housing) as part of the overall tenure split projected for the local authority area.”

The proposed amendment to the Planning and Development (Amendment) (Large-scale Residential Development) Bill 2021 will introduce the principle of home ownership as a specific tenure type within a local authority’s housing strategy, with particular regard to developments comprising houses and duplexes.

The proportion of home ownership will be calculated by each local authority using the Housing Need and Demand Assessment, which projects future need of housing by tenure type. Projections are based on incomes, house prices and rents, structural demand for housing, existing need and projections for how these indicators will evolve over the coming years.

Last week, the Government approved the publication this month of the Residential Tenancies (No.3) Bill 2021. The Bill, if enacted, will put a cap on rent increases of more than 2% per annum in any Rent Pressure Zone when general inflation is higher than 2%. The Bill will also address long-term security of tenure by introducing tenancies of indefinite duration. This was a key commitment in Housing for All.

In September, the Government published Housing for All, the Government’s plan to boost the supply of housing to 2030, to increase availability and affordability of housing, and to create a sustainable housing system into the future. The plan contains a range of actions and measures to ensure over 300,000 new social, affordable, cost rental and private homes are built by 2030.The actions outlined in the Plan are backed by over €4 billion in annual guaranteed State investment in housing over the coming years, including through Exchequer funding, Land Development Agency and Housing Finance Agency investment.