Cork City Council house vacant for… 6 years!

10th February 2015
By Bryan Smyth

Sinn Féin Cork North Central Cllr. Thomas Gould has described
revelations at last night’s Cork City Council meeting that one vacant
house that had been refurbished in 2014 and had been vacant for 2,282
days or over six years, as a disgrace. Cllr. Gould describe this
figure as shocking especially at a this time when there are over 8,678
families and individuals on Cork City Council’s housing’s waiting
list. Cllr. Gould is calling on the council to fast track repairs to
vacant houses and to allocate them immediately to families in need of
housing. This can only happen if the Government allocates funding to
Cork City Council to carry out the necessary repairs and are given the
staff in maintenance and administration to complete the work.

The government has provided extra staff to Dublin County Council’s but
Cork have not gotten any additional staff. Cork City Council housing
department is in crisis because of shortages in funds, resources and
staff with only emergency repair work being carried out.

Cllr. Gould received the information following answers to a number of
housing questions he had previously submitted to the CE of Cork City
Council, Anne Doherty. Another disturbing figure was that the average
time a house is vacant was 644 days, not far off two years. The
reason for this is cited as a lack of funding from central government
to carry out repairs. The average cost to repair a vacant house in
Cork City was €23,261 and there are 359 more vacant houses still
boarded up.

The Chief Executive did reveal that the council did manage to allocate
one vacant house in a single day and Cllr. Gould asked why the Council
can’t apply this type of efficiency to all its allocations. If people
are leaving Cork City Council houses in a condition that allows for
immediate occupancy, a system should be put in place that allows this
to occur. We should provide incentives that if people return their
properties in good condition they would receive a rent rebate. This
would allow the council to move families directly into houses before
they become vacant and fall into disrepair or are vandalized. It would
save the council and the tenant’s money and get the houses allocated
straight away providing a home for hard pressed families while also
eliminating areas for anti-social behaviour in communities. Everyone
is a winner!

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