The Department of Housing has said changes will be made to a scheme which aims to bring hundreds of social houses on stream to help alleviate the property crisis. 

It comes as official figures show that no new units came on stream as a result of the Repair and Lease initiative for the first three quarters of last year.

The Peter McVerry Trust has said the scheme was not working as it was envisaged and needs to be changed.

The Department has said the initiative has been reviewed and the results of that will be announced shortly.

It also said a "number" of properties had come on stream in the last quarter of 2017. It expects a greater uptake in 2018.

The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) has also called for changes to be made to the scheme.

Fintan McNamara from the RLA said his members are put off by the minimum ten-year lease and the fact that rent is paid at 80% of the market rate.

What is the Repair and Lease Scheme?

The plan was launched nationally in February of last year. The idea was to encourage owners of rundown vacant homes to lease their properties for social housing.

Under the scheme, the local authority would initially pay for the refurbishment of the property up to the value of €40,000.

In return, the homeowner leases it to council for a minimum of ten years for use as social housing. The rent is set at 80% of the current market rates.

When it was unveiled, the then Minister for Housing Simon Coveney said he was confident it would deliver up 800 homes in 12 months.

The reality though is somewhat different. The latest, official figures from the Dept, for the first three quarter of 2017 show:

  • 729 application were received
  • 292 properties were deemed suitable
  • 18 leases have been signed

The number of properties delivered, in the first three quarter of 2017 was zero.