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Tenant-in-situ scheme is good, but… experts raise concerns

DUBLIN: Concerns are being raised about the Tenant-in-Situ scheme announced by the government as part of a bid to tackle homelessness following the lifting of a ban on evictions. According to experts, the scheme was implemented without the necessary homework, funds, or other resources. Therefore, they are doubtful about the success of the scheme.

The lifting of the eviction ban resulted in a significant increase in the number of homeless people, and the scheme was expanded to provide funding to councils to control this.

Under the scheme, city councils will take over vacated properties from landlords and return them to tenants. The government intends to acquire 1,500 properties through the tenant-in-situ scheme. However, experts point out that the main issue is that the necessary technical personnel and funds are not yet available. As a result, each transaction is expected to take up to six months to complete.

The scheme is implemented in four stages such as tenant’s financial ability test, building test, property valuation, and offer. The main issue is that property valuer councils do not have enough property valuers to do everything. Limerick City and County Council, which has acquired 12 properties through the scheme, revealed the lack of technical staff to prepare specifications for renovations and others. The government proposes that the council purchase 75 properties. But there are 223 units under the consideration of the council.

In the scheme, the government assigned a target to each local body. The city councils will provide financial assistance to purchase 50 to 80 properties, according to this. However, acquisitions are not taking place as planned.

Figures show that Dún Laoghaire–Rathdown County Council and Cork City Council have only made three purchases so far. There has been no action in Waterford yet. Similarly, Galway City Council bought four properties and Fingal County Council bought 14 properties. Dublin City Council, one of the largest councils in the country, bought 29 properties.

Focus Ireland also questioned the validity of the scheme’s extension. As part of the scheme, the organisation purchased a number of properties. Previously, 20 to 30 properties were purchased through the Tenant in Situ scheme, but this figure has now risen to 100. Focus Ireland said it lacked funds and staff. The Trinity government in Dublin has yet to clarify how this will be handled. Associate Prof. of the College Rachael Walsh said.

The RTB said more than 4,300 termination notices were issued to tenants in the last quarter of 2022. According to the figures, landlords vacated 2,513 properties for sale.

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