For Written Answer on : 05/10/2021
Question Number(s): 299,321 Question Reference(s): 47724/21, 48315/21
Department: Housing, Local Government and Heritage
Asked by: Fergus O’Dowd T.D., David Stanton T.D.
* To ask the Minister for Housing; Local Government and Heritage further to Parliamentary Question No. 225 of 1 July 2021 and the publication of the Housing for All strategy, the cost to date to his Department for the provision of funding to each local authority for the post of vacant homes officers in tabular form; if each such local authority has appointed a vacant homes officer, the date of each appointment; if such appointments are full-time dedicated posts with no other responsibilities attached; if not, the other responsibilities; if he has requested an annual report for each such local authority in relation to the work of each vacant homes officer; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
– Fergus O’Dowd T.D.
For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 5 October, 2021.
* To ask the Minister for Housing; Local Government and Heritage further to Parliamentary Question number 139 of 28 September 2021, when he expects all vacant homes officers based in local authorities will be full-time posts; the action he plans to take to make this happen; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
– David Stanton T.D.
For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 5 October, 2021.
My Department has provided funding of €50,000 per annum to each of the 31 local authorities since July 2018. The funding is provided to support the work of the Vacant Homes Office in each local authority each year. All 31 local authorities have claimed the funding up to June 2021. The total amount paid to all 31 local authorities to fund Vacant Homes Offices to date is €4.65m. A circular has now issued from my Department inviting all 31 local authorities to claim the funding for the period July 2021 to June 2022.
Each of the 31 local authorities has appointed a Vacant Homes Officer since 2018, however, there have been many staff changes in local authorities in the past 3 years resulting in various different staff members filling the role.
The table below sets out the date of appointment of the current Vacant Homes Officer and whether the officer is appointed in a full time capacity, dedicated only to the duties of the Vacant Homes Officer, or if they are assigned other responsibilities within the local authority.
As part of Housing for All the Government has committed to a range of actions as part of the pathway to address vacancy ensuring the efficient use of housing stock. This includes ensuring that from Q4 2021 the Vacant Homes Officers based in local authorities are all full-time posts.
Finally, following the lifting of Covid related restrictions from Q3 2021, the Vacant Homes Officers are required to submit quarterly returns to the Vacant Homes Unit in my Department on the number of properties inspected and number of properties brought back into use through the various schemes in their administrative areas. Returns for Q3 2021 will be submitted shortly.
|Local Authority||Date of Appointment of current VHO||Full time dedicated VHO posts|
Y / N
|Other responsibilities assigned to Vacant Homes Officers who are not in full-time dedicated VHO posts|
|Carlow County Council||Jul-18||NO||Senior Executive Officer in Housing overseeing various schemes and projects.|
|Cavan County Council||Feb-19||YES|
|Clare County Council||Jun-21||YES|
|Cork City Council||2019||NO||Derelict Sites / Vacant Sites work / Audit Work / Budgets.|
|Cork County Council||Feb-18||NO||Senior Executive Officer in Housing overseeing various schemes and projects.|
|Donegal County Council||Jul-18||NO||Responsibility as SEO for all Housing & Corporate Services delivered via 5 Municipal Districts. The duties of VHO are decentralised and incorporated into the roles of different staff in different parts of the County.|
|Dublin City Council||Jan-17||YES|
|Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council||June 2019||NO||Other duties include administrative tasks in the following sections: Long-Term Leasing; Housing Adaptation Grants; Disabled Persons Alterations|
|Fingal County Council||May-19||NO||Social Housing Delivery Programme.|
|Galway City Council||Sep-19||NO||Acquisitions, Long term lease scheme, The Repair and Lease scheme, Mortgage to Rent scheme and Buy & Renew scheme|
|Galway County Council||Feb-21||NO||Long term leasing, Acquisitions|
|Kerry County Council||Jun-19||YES|
|Kildare County Council||Jul-18||NO||Administrative Officer in the Capital Team with responsibility for the acquisitions/build programmes/Part V/land management/CAS Schemes etc.|
|Kilkenny County Council||Apr-18||NO||Housing Capital Projects (sole Architect in KCC); Design, Site appraisal & feasibility, Forward Planning, Consultants Liaison; CAS & CALF project Appraisals; Age-friendly Housing Technical Advisor; Community Projects-RRDF projects; Corporate Project Liaison; Access Officer|
|Laois County Council||Sep-18||NO||RAS & Leasing, Private Rented Inspections|
|Leitrim County Council||2018 – Sep 2021*||NO||*Actively recruiting for replacement VHO.|
|Limerick City and County Council||Jul-20||YES|
|Longford County Council||Jul-18||NO||Senior Executive Officer in Housing overseeing various schemes and projects.|
|Louth County Council||Dec-19||NO||Oversight of Housing Financial Department|
|Mayo County Council||Jun-18||NO||Capital Delivery & Housing Policy|
|Meath County Council||Oct-19||NO||Vacant Housing Office – 90%; Approved Housing Bodies – 10%|
|Monaghan County Council||Jul-18||NO||Delivering Housing for All Programme|
|Offaly County Council||Aug-18||NO||Disabled Person Grants|
|Roscommon County Council||Oct-20 VHO position has been consistently maintained since 2018.||VHO post is substantially full time||75% of the post-holders’ role is VHO related; Derelict Sites and Dangerous Places; Planning enforcement.|
Due to backlogs in some other areas of work, primarily arising from Covid-19 related issues and restrictions, the VHO officer has been deployed in recent months to assist in other areas of work. Prior to that, VHO work accounted for 100% of post-holder activity.
|Sligo County Council||Sep-18||NO||Planning, Enforcement and Building Control|
|South Dublin County Council||Nov-19||NO||Rent Accounts and Assessment; Management of Mortgage/Rebuilding Ireland Home Loans; Tenant Purchase Scheme. The designated VHO is supported by a Housing Inspector who conducts vacant homes inspections and associated follow-up work.|
|Tipperary County Council||Nov-18||YES|
|Waterford City and County Council||Jul-18||YES||Although the post is dedicated, the VHO also undertakes Covid-19 compliance duties throughout the Housing Section. The majority of the resource is employed in relation to the RLS scheme.|
|Westmeath County Council||Jul-18||NO||Broadband Officer|
|Wexford County Council||Jul-18||NO||Homeless Co-Ordinator, Private Rented Sector Enforcement of Standards; RAS Co-Ordinator; Leasing Co-Ordinator; Repair & Leasing Co-ordinator; Annual and Monthly LG Returns|
|Wicklow County Council||Dec-20||NO||Housing Maintenance; Private rented accommodation inspections including HAP, leasing & repair and lease inspections. Housing Adaptation Grants|