The housing agency is to hire consultants to advise local authorities on whether commercial properties, large homes and hospitality buildings such as hotels and B&Bs can be used for social housing.
That state agency estimates that housing experts, builders and surveyors will inspect about 60 buildings across the country each year and advise on their suitability before any are purchased.
This represents a departure from previous procedures, where building surveyors would be hired on a case-by-case basis to assess specific properties. It also shows how councils are struggling to cope with the demand for housing.
The surveyors will be tasked with making recommendations to the housing agency on the suitability of commercial buildings for reuse as homes.
There’s no indication of how many people will be housed, or how many homes will be acquired as part of the plans – but the focus will be on getting bigger homes for households, and on buildings that need to be built. Can be renovated and renovated as homes.
The Housing Agency works with the Department of Housing, local councils and approved housing bodies to deliver homes and housing services.
However, due to limited housing supply, it is becoming increasingly difficult for councils and housing bodies to cope with the huge demand for housing.
The agency said it would spend an estimated €500,000 per year on surveyors investigating large properties.
The existing homes inspected under the plan would have five or more bedrooms. Surveyors will make an “aggregate recommendation on the suitability of the property for acquisition and/or future use for housing”.
A spokesperson said the housing agency will receive a detailed condition survey of the buildings and a review of all aspects of each property.
“This will assist the housing agency and its stakeholders to better understand the suitability of the property for acquisition and/or future use for housing,” she said.
Experts will focus on “required repairs identified and the time frame expected to put the property into use”.
“The final suitability or repurchase option will be affected by the results of the survey on each of the surveyed properties. Because surveyors will make an overall recommendation on the ‘suitability of the property for acquisition and/or future use for the provision of housing’, all survey properties result in acquisition Will not,” said the spokesperson.
Recently there has been increased pressure on councils to source housing, with the demand for homes fueled by the need to build homes for people fleeing conflict in Ukraine.
Last month, Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien said local officials had identified more than 500 vacant buildings capable of housing thousands of Ukrainian refugees.
These buildings are being assessed separately, many of which include community buildings, former commercial or educational buildings, and religious centers.