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Amendments to Affordable Housing Bill 2021

Updated: Sep 23, 2021

Affordable Housing Bill 2021 - Committee Stage

Full transcript of speech:

A year ago I was quite unsure about the Programme for Government, however today, just over one year on, following much discourse and negotiation this Affordable Housing Bill coupled with the Land Development Agency Bill gives me hope.

Green Party policies of cost-rental, 100% public housing on public land, abolition of co-living, community led housing, tenures of indefinite duration, the imminent shutting down of the SHD scheme, these amongst other measures are being legislated for. There are legacy issues from previous governments, however all of the aforementioned actions will provide affordable secure homes for so many families and young people who have been locked out of the housing system

We have tabled a number of amendments to this Bill on the community-led housing model and I welcome the Minister’s amendment to include community-led housing in this Bill as a new model to the State. These amendments will provide statutory footing to the model and will enable people to pool their assets and resources to create homes and communities which meet their particular needs in a sustainable manner.

As part of an academic research tour of Berlin organised by Dominic Stevens architect, an advocate of community led housing, I visited such a complex in Berlin where costs of homes are as much as 30% lower. I look forward to seeing this affordable housing model being rolled out here in Ireland.

We need to ensure that our affordable housing models remain affordable and state-led. Green Party amendments today on cost-rental call for Cost-rental dwellings to remain cost-rental in perpetuity, that rents do not increase, but in fact decrease after the cost calculation period ends. Capping equity returns to 3.5% in line with the equitable Vienna Model, and ensure that tenants are protected by offering tenancies of indefinite duration.

Regulations are also required to provide succession rights to relatives or partners living with the tenant in the case of death or incapacity of the original signee.

All of these provisions are put forward as amendments by myself, Deputy Steven Matthews and our policy team. I do urge the Minister and Department to consider them either as part of this Bill or the accompanying regulations on cost-rental.

While our universal design amendment was ruled out of order, Housing should be based on good and inclusive design. Our amendment called for 7.5% of new developments to follow the principles of universal design ensuring that everyone - people of varying abilities and disabilities - can find a suitable home that meets their needs.

Finally, the Green Party’s amendment to add a further section to the Bill will require 30% of units in any development - including apartments - to be reserved for first-time buyers and owner occupiers.

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