Report points to high Kildare housing repair bill

National Oversight Audit Commission report on local authority housing

Henry Bauress

Reporter:

Henry Bauress

Email:

henry.bauress@leinsterleader.ie

Report points to high Kildare housing repair bill

KILDARE County Council spent an average of €11,530 on preparing each vacated local authority house for reletting in 2014, according to figures published by the National Oversight Audit Commission this week.

If the figure seems high, it is small compared to Cork city where it cost the local authority €35,000. The Meath and Wicklow figures, at €19,999 and €14,017 respectively were higher.

The  report from NOAC (www.noac.ie)  says 31% of houses vacated by tenants required major repair work before new tenants could be let it.

The report said that State wise, €348m was collected from local authority tenants in 2015 and it found that only 17% of them would want to leave a local authority estate.

Historic arrears accounted for 18.5% of the rent charged for 2014.

On average it cost €1,679 to maintain each local authority house in in the State in 2014 - it was €1,763.28 in Kildare - and rent averaged €2,665 per year which means that rents were 159% of the repair bill.  Put another way, repairs took up 63% of the rents.

On the last day of 2014, it had 999 request for repairs on is books and estimated it would cost €1m to do them.

NOAC also said that 38% of tenants were not sure who was responsible for particular repairs, themselves or the Council.

The figures, collected for the country, show that Kildare Council had 3,639 residences to rent.

Nearly all were houses but 175 were flats or apartments, four were demountable dwellings and there were ninety nine other residences.

The Council rented just 50 houses in rural areas.

Its local authority rental income for 2014 was €9.47m and it wrote off just €25,819. Like other local authorities, it has been collecting arrears

It spent €6.4m on maintenance and repairs and another €796,028 on rental and tenant purchase administration.

Another €829,850 was spent on housing community development support.

While it did not, unlike other, say how many estates it managed, the average number of local authority houses per estates it managed, was twenty.

The Council had the equivalent of thirteen full time staff in managing and administration its housing section and related programmes, and 20 maintenance staff (which is about one person for every 181 houses).

On vacancy, at the time of the survey, the Council has 22 units vacant. Of these 19 were vacant for between six to eight weeks and three for between two to five weeks.

Of 82 vacancies in 2014, the Council spent €945,472 on refurbishment.

The survey found that nationally, there were 4,202 house vacant in autumn of 2015, representing 3.2% of the national stock.

In Kildare the vacancy rate was 0.6% or less than one percent, similar to Wicklow (0.7%).