There are 637 applicants on the housing list for Nenagh Municipal District area, local councillors have been told. However, the council only has plans to build three houses this year in Cloughjordan.
“There were 10 vacant houses, works are ongoing in three, two are about to commence, four are being assessed and one which it is proposed to dispose of,” director of housing Clare Curley said.
Ms Curley revealed that the council was trying to acquire houses throughout the district. Nine houses have been surveyed and tenders are being evaluated under Fabric Upgrade Works.
“We are more than busy on the capital front because of the social housing strategy and we are tying to maiximise this for Tipperary,” she said.
Cllr Seamus Morris stated that housing was the “biggest problem” facing the council. “We are dealing with families in desparate situations. Tipperary has the highest rate of repossessions in the country,” he said.
The Sinn Fein councillor blamed the reduction in rent allowance on creating an “awful atmosphere” between tenants and landlords. “Landlords are telling tenants they are selling their houses to get people out and then advertising them for rent privately,” he claimed.
Cllr Morris questioned building three houses in Clughjordan where, he said, the sewerage system was at over-capacity.
Independent Cllr Hughie McGrath asked that money be spent on older housing stock which only required “care and attention” before they deteriorated.
He questioned money being spent on building one-bedroom apartments, saying the extra cost of a second bedroom would create greater flexibility.
Cllr Fiona Bonfield pointed out that extra funding had been announced for Tipperary, but Cllr Morris believed they were as likely to get that funding as the IMF was not get repaid by Greece.
Ms Curley said the council was actively trying to buy family homes, and trying to buy houses that did not require huge capital works.
She told Cllr Morris that the council was waiting for the introduction of legislation for a new Tenant Purchase Scheme.
Ms Curley told Cllr Ger Darcy that the council had landbanks in Borrisokane, Puckaun, Portroe and Cloughjordan.
Cllr Darcy agreed with comments by Cllr John Carroll that some tenants were deliberately damaging houses without penalty.
However, Ms Curley said: “We do not reward bad behaviour. We do not rehouse people if they left damage behind. We assess the damage and would want to be repaid.”