After what can be a very long wait for a social home to rent from Laois County Council, it has been highlighted that tenants have been waiting up to seven months for vacant homes chosen for them, to be renovated so they can move in.
Portlaoise councillor Caroline Dwane Stanley has raised her concerns on behalf of constituents who were told they were getting a home, but are still waiting. One since last November, another since February.
"At first I thought it was Covid but I have realised since that it was a funding issue.
"Tenants have been notified that they were offered a house. There are two properties in Kilminchy. One was offered in February but they are still waiting for works to be carried out. There are three in Knockmay lying idle. A fourth has started renovations. One lady is waiting since November. This is the longest wait we've ever seen.
"In O'Moore Place these houses are boarded up. We have people contacting us to see if they can rent them and we have to tell them there are already tenants chosen.
"There are certain areas where we know you cannot leave a house idle for months. We have been told now that O'Moore Place houses won't be relet until energy retrofitting is done but that will take months.
Surely work can be done when they are living in the house?" she asked.
"I'm glad there is funding now but we need to crack on," Cllr Dwane Stanley said.
She tabled a motion to the June meeting of Portlaoise Municipal District asking what is the delay.
Laois County Council in reply said that its re-letting time is better than the national average.
"In 2020 the Housing Department completed re-lettings works to 57 units surrendered by existing Council tenants. Of the 57 units completed in 2020, 30 of these were in the Portlaoise MD area. The average time of re-letting for these 57 units in 2020 was 20 weeks which was significantly lower than the national average re-letting time of 28 weeks.
"It should be noted that the average re-letting time takes account of the time taken to carry out minor works to units prior to reletting but also the time taken to carry out works to units requiring more extensive refurbishment when vacated," the housing section said.
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