The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD, has welcomed Cabinet approval for the publication of the Affordable Housing Bill 2021.

The Bill will be the first comprehensive standalone legislation dedicated to the provision of affordable housing in history of the State. Key elements of the Bill include:

•        The first scheme of direct state built affordable homes in over a decade

•        The first ever national scheme to provide for the delivery of Cost Rental housing

•        A new Affordable Purchase Shared Equity scheme for homes in private developments

•        Provision for the extension of Part V to a set 20% in every Local Authority area with a 10% minimum requirement for social homes and a further 10% requirement for affordable homes where required

Commenting Minister O’Brien said, “This Bill is delivering on the Programme for Government commitment to put affordability at the heart of the housing system and to prioritise the increased supply of affordable homes.

“For the first time in over a decade we will be empowering local authorities to deliver affordable homes for purchase on their own lands, meaning that middle income earners can be supported to own their own home.

“The Bill will also provide a statutory legislative basis for our first ever national Cost Rental scheme, whereby tenants pay rent that covers the costs of delivering, managing, and maintaining the homes only – the first homes will be delivered this year at a minimum of 25% below market value. The development of a Cost Rental sector will achieve what has been a long standing public policy goal and will deliver on the recommendations made in National Economic and Social Council (NESC) reports.

The new Affordable Purchase Shared Equity scheme will involve the State supporting hard pressed first time buyers to purchase homes in private developments. This will take the form of an equity stake of up to 20% in new build homes. Eligible homes will be subject to regional price caps. The scheme will ensure that people paying high rents can instead use their hard earned income to pay down a mortgage and own their own home much sooner. Controls will be in place to prevent any inflationary effect.

“Finally, the Bill provides for an extension of Part V to a set 20% in every Local Authority area, with a 10% minimum requirement for social homes and up to a further 10% requirement for affordable homes where required, or where not so required, the additional percentage may be used towards social housing,” he concluded.