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Enhanced Long Term Social Housing Leasing Scheme

The Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government has introduced the Enhanced Long Term Social Housing Leasing Scheme in order to:

  • target newly built or yet to be built houses and apartments for leasing;
  • target property developers and investors who are in a position to deliver housing at a reasonable scale; and
  • provide for 25-year lease terms that require the property owner to provide day to day maintenance of the properties under a schedule of Management Services.

The Housing Agency is the national co-ordinator of this scheme and manages and administers it on behalf of the Department and local authorities.  It is now seeking proposals from interested parties.

The current Call for Proposals is open until 25th October 2018.  The full details and terms of the scheme are set out in the Call for Proposals document.

Download the Call for Proposals document.

Information with respect to the other leasing schemes available to proposers for the purposes of delivering social housing is available from the relevant Local Authority.

What is the Enhanced Long Term Social Housing Leasing Scheme?

The Enhanced Long Term Social Housing Leasing Scheme is one of a suite of measures introduced under Pillar 2 of “Rebuilding Ireland: An Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness” aimed at private investment in order to deliver social housing at scale.  The Scheme provides the opportunity for Local Authorities to lease from institutional developers and investors in a manner that achieves the best outcome for all parties.

The main features of the lease are:

  • The lease term is 25 years
  • The Local Authority (the lessee) pays up to 95% of an agreed market rent at commencement of the lease to the lessor (owner of property)
  • Rent is reviewed every 3 years, linked to the Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices (HICP)
  • The Lessor is obliged to provide Management Services for the properties
  • The relevant Local Authority is the landlord to the tenant and collects differential rent from them
  • Each proposal should include a minimum of 20 no. properties in any Local Authority area (that can be on multiple sites)

What do I need to do as a property owner if I enter into a lease under the Scheme?

In return for an increased proportion of the open market rent, Lessors are obliged to undertake the maintenance of the properties including response maintenance to address issues with the properties as they arise.

There are three different Maintenance Services Response types:

  1. Immediate Repair issues – 24-hour response; required to ensure continued safe occupation or prevent significant damage to property
  2. Responsive Repair issues – 5-day response; required to ensure continued comfortable occupation and full use of property
  3. Periodic Repair issues – 15 working days; issues other than above to ensure continued comfortable occupation of property

If Management Services are not performed as required the Local Authority will apply penalties at a proportion of the monthly rent for the property where the failure occurred. 

Full details of all property-owner obligations under scheme, including insurances etc, are set out in the Call for Proposals document

What do I need to do to qualify for the Scheme?

In order for submissions to be assessed under the scheme, proposers must –

  • Be corporate entity established under the Companies Act 2014
  • Submit declaration regarding solvency, not engaged in illegal activities etc.
  • Submit funders’ support letters in accordance with template wording
  • Complete and return all documentation outlined in the Call for Proposals document
  • Outline how it is proposed to maintain the properties for the duration of the lease
  • Properties proposed must meet all statutory requirements and the Housing (Standards for Rented Houses) Regulations 2017 (S.I. 174/2017) – proposals without planning permission will not be considered.
  • Properties must be furnished

What if I do not have planning permission but am interested in putting a site(s) forward?

The Housing Agency operates a “Pre-Planning Suitability Assessment” process in order to provide information to relevant parties as to the suitability of their site and proposed development for inclusion in the Scheme, in advance of obtaining planning permission

The Pre-Planning Suitability Assessment process is designed to allow prospective proposers the opportunity to establish whether a site may be considered as a suitable candidate for the Enhanced Long Term Social Housing Leasing Scheme.  The Housing Agency will engage with the relevant Local Authority in respect of a particular site or sites and will inform the proposer if it would be likely that a proposal would pass or fail an assessment under the terms of the scheme if it were put forward formally with the benefit of planning permission.

In order to allow the Housing Agency to process enquiries in an efficient and transparent manner, all proposals should contain the documentation set out in Section 7 of the Call for Proposals document, including site location maps, drawings and detailed proposal information. Any submissions that do not contain the requisite material will be returned.  Enquiries will only be accepted on lands with the relevant planning policy support and a statement outlining same is required, prepared by a suitably qualified person in the planning / built environment area.

This process has no material bearing on any other statutory process (e.g. the Planning process) and an indication of the suitability of the site through this process should not be considered as confirmation of its acceptance or otherwise to the scheme. All proposals will be required to be re-assessed in full once planning permission has been obtained, in line with the terms of the Scheme.

How are proposals assessed?

All proposals will be assessed by the Housing Agency, in conjunction with the relevant Local Authority, in order to establish whether the site is suitable for social housing, whether the specific proposal meets the housing need in the area and whether the proposed rents are in line with open market rents. Where there is a dispute over the relevant open market rent, proposals can be referred to an independent valuer for determination. The full details of the scheme and marking criteria, including financial and funding pre-requisites, are set out in the Call for Proposals document.

Enhanced Lease Process

How can I propose a site(s) for inclusion in the Enhanced Leasing Scheme?

The Submission Checklist and Call for Proposals Form are set out in Appendix 1 and 3 of the Call for Proposals document. Each proposal should include all of the relevant documentation including application form, site location maps, drawings (all to the requisite scales) and other supporting material and details, as set out in Section 6 of the document.

All applicants are required to complete and sign a documentation checklist in order to ensure that they have read and understood the submission and scheme requirements. Any submissions that do not contain this signed checklist will be rejected.

Submissions should be returned via email to enhancedleasing@housingagency.ie and referenced Call for Proposals Enhanced Long Term Social Housing Leasing Arrangements by no later than Thursday 25th October 2018.  It is the sole responsibility of the Proposer to ensure its Submission is received by the stated deadline.

Queries

Queries seeking clarification on any aspect of the Scheme may be submitted by e-mail to enhancedleasing@housingagency.ie no later than 5.00pm on 28th September 2018. Responses to all clarifications queries will be shared with all parties who have registered their interest in participating in the Scheme.

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