Independent TD Mattie McGrath has said that urgent clarification is required following confirmation that many of the reasons cited by Tipperary County Council (TCC) as to why it rejected 148 properties offered to it by NAMA for social housing could have been remedied without any cost to the Local Authority. Deputy McGrath was speaking after Tipperary County Council stated in reply to him that the NAMA units referred too were not appropriate for use by local authorities because a high number of units did not meet standard or construction regulations while some units had legal title and management issues:
“Following recent coverage of the rejection of significant numbers of properties offered to TCC I contacted both the Council and NAMA to establish what was going on.
The Council in its reply to me outlined a range of reasons why it had to reject the properties NAMA offered it through the government established Housing Agency which acts as a mediator between NAMA and the Local Authorities.
When I put these to NAMA however, it insisted that it was made quite clear to all agencies, that any property handed over by NAMA to the Housing Agency would be fully remediated to the highest living standards, and would be in full compliance with all construction and building standards, and in compliance with the conditions of planning and Local Authority regulations.
Additionally, NAMA have insisted that it was made clear that prior to hand-over, any issues relating to legal title or financial matters would have been fully regularised.
As a result, no local authority or approved housing body would be liable for costs relating to remediation works, or legal fees relating to title issues.
The Housing Agency in particular need to urgently clarify why the properties were rejected when it appears that steps could and would have been taken to make them suitable for tenants at no cost to the local authority or the Housing Agency?
Even if there was no immediate need, which I find very hard to believe, could they not have been accepted, remediated and then offered at a later point when social housing need arose?
The Local Authority is saying the properties were rejected due to the reasons I have outlined yet NAMA is saying these issues could and would be resolved thus avoiding the need for rejection?
I am still awaiting a reply from the Housing Agency, which I hope will shed some much needed light on this matter,” concluded Deputy McGrath.