Fine Gael Minister Martin Heydon is encouraging Kildare County Council to make more use of the Repair and Leasing Scheme to supply more housing.

Minister Heydon was speaking as figures show a low uptake in use of the Repair and Leasing scheme in some local authority areas and suggested that it could be promoted better.

Minister Heydon said, “This scheme under the Government’s housing plan, Rebuilding Ireland, assists owners in bringing vacant properties back into use as social homes.

“Where a property requires repairs to bring it up to the standard for required for rented properties, the RLS will pay for the repairs up-front in return for the property being made available to be used as social housing for a period of at least 5 years under either a direct lease or Rental Availability Arrangement with the local authority.

“Figures show that last year, Kildare County Council was one of 19 local authorities that did not avail of any capital funding under the Repair and Leasing scheme.

“There is definitely scope here for Kildare County Council to utilise the scheme more to avail of funding to bring more social homes into operation.

“An analysis of the figures shows that some councils performed well under the scheme. Among them was Waterford City and County Council which availed of €1,199,054 in total funding in 2020 for repairs and other work to properties so they could be used for social housing. This amounts to 45% of the total funding drawn down from the scheme for 2020.

“I am therefore encouraging Kildare County Council to explore better ways of promoting this scheme which could involve a publicity campaign aimed at homeowners.”