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06 Jul 2022

10 year wait for new fitted kitchens in Laois council houses

10 year wait for new fitted kitchens in Laois council houses

Laois council tenants with outdated kitchens will have to wait up to 10 years to get them replace.

There are some 50 Laois council homes waiting for new fitted kitchens, but only five a year are replaced, according to a councillor.

Maintenance of council homes must be improved, says Cllr Caroline Dwane Stanley.

She has listed a litany of issues with older council houses that are not being addressed quickly enough.

“There are elderly tenants in homes thirty and forty years, who have lots of problems like rising damp, mould, old windows and doors and heating systems, old kitchen presses.

“I am mindful that there are budgetary constraints but we are consistently told there is no funding available. Last year most rents went up. If a house is being relet, a contractor brings that up to a good standard but the tenant next door is told there is no funding. We have to accept there is a problem. We need to stop firefighting and put a plan in place,” Cllr Dwane Stanley said.

She tabled a motion to the March meeting of Portlaoise Municipal District, asking for a plan of action to be drawn up for council house maintenance.

“The council does five fitted kitchens a year. There is a waiting list of 50. That means the person at number 50 has to wait another 10 years. But the biggest problem is windows and doors. If a lock goes on a door now, it’s expensive. These people are renting and we are the landlord. They don’t own these properties. It’s frustrating that they can’t get work done,” she said.

“I suggest a plan, even if it takes five years. Start at the oldest stock. I see tenants getting frustrated and going public crying out for help,” she said.

The council reply said that a retrofit workshop is taking place this week.

“In 2020, Laois County Council's Housing Department completed 3,269 maintenance work orders to social housing units. Laois County Council is also preparing a plan for the retrofit of Council houses and a workshop will be held with Councillors next week in this regard”.

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