28 Sept 2022

Laois County Council told to stop buying houses on open market

laois county council

County Hall Portlaoise

As the housing market continues to struggle with supply in Laois and elsewhere, Laois County Council has confirmed that it will be almost halting the purchase of second hand houses on the open market this year.

It is a decision made by the Department of Housing affecting every county.  

The CEO John Mulholland said at the January council meeting that the council had bought 40 houses for its tenants last year as part of its efforts to create homes for some 1,700 names on its social housing waiting list. 

These purchased houses include 16 in portlaoise, eight in Mountrath, seven in Portarlington, three in Mountmellick with the others in five smaller towns and villages. 

However this year they will have to make a special plea for money to buy more.

The CEO’s management report gave this update from the Department. 

“A delegated sanction to local authorities to acquire properties no longer applies with effect from 1st January 2022. In limited situations, a business case should be made to the Dept of Housing focusing on priority areas, ie one-bed units under Housing First, (b) to allow families exit homelessness and © specific housing for disability or other particular priority needs. No more than 200 acquisitions countrywide will be approved in 2022.”

Buying houses is just one of the ways that Laois County Council has added to its housing stock. Last year they built 28 new houses directly. They bought 13 more in two fully finished turnkey developments, and they placed tenants in 80 new homes built and owned by approved housing bodies.

The big push to build continues in 2022.

There are currently 407 new homes under construction by Laois County Council and Approved Housing Bodies who build homes for the council to fill with its tenants. 

“I would say it is the greatest by far in any period in recent years or in previous years. The news is quite positive for people on our housing list,” Mr Mulholland said.

He listed further homes that are at design and planning stage to be built after 2022.

“There is an equally long number of houses to be provided in the period after that. The total is 387. Outside of these we are engaging with various sites and other schemes with the department," the council CEO said.

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