Abandoned Laois homes are being force bought by council

Lynda Kiernan

Reporter:

Lynda Kiernan

Abandoned Laois homes are being force bought by council

A house in Rush Hall, Mountrath which has been bought by CPO by Laois County Council

Some of the hundreds of vacant and abandoned houses in Laois towns have been forcibly bought to restore as council houses, and the public are being asked to help identify more.

Laois County Council has begun using its Compulsory Purchases powers on empty houses in efforts to combat both dereliction and the chronic housing shortage.

Ten houses in housing estates were taken possession of in 2019. They were in Hepburn Court, O’Moore Place and Lakeglen Portlaoise, in Oak Manor and Kirwan Park in Mountmellick and in Rush Hall, Mountrath.

Another nine are in the process of being forcibly bought.

“The use of the CPO procedure is a last resort to progress a vacant unit back into active use,” Director of Services for housing Joe Delaney told the Leinster Express.

Main streets in Mountmellick and Mountrath were surveyed to see the level of vacancy.

“The Council will continue this work over the coming months in other towns and villages. Our main objective in carrying out these surveys is the return of vacant properties to active use for economic or residential purposes,” he said.

Below: a house in Lakeglen, Portlaoise that was also bought by CPO.

The houses are assessed for suitability as council homes, taking into account the cost of renovation and the demand for the area.

“Vacant and abandoned properties are damaging to the quality of surrounding areas and are subject to dereliction, vandalism and anti social behaviour, while also endangering adjoining properties. The return of vacant dwellings to use for housing purposes will enhance local neighbourhoods, as well as providing a potentially fast and cost effective way to assist in meeting current housing needs,” the Director said.

There are grants to owners of empty homes to restore them, such as the Repair & Leasing Scheme and the Buy & Renew Scheme.

“Laois County Council will support property owners where possible in returning properties to use for housing purposes,” he said.

Anybody can report a vacant property to Laois County Council by e-mail vacanthomes@laoiscoco.ie.

Vacant properties can also be reported anonymously on www.vacanthomes.ie. When a vacant property in Laois is logged, the council's Vacant Homes Office is alerted by email.

Other ideas offered by the council include the leasing of private houses, and deals to fund turnkey developments. Enquire to housingdelivery@laoiscoco.ie

Below: houses in Rush Hall Mountrath, and in O'Moore Place and Hepburn Court in Portlaoise also bought up.