The overall aim of housing policy is to enable every household to have available an affordable dwelling of good quality, suited to its needs, in a good environment, and as far as possible at a tenure of its choice.
The general strategy for realising the overall policy aim is that those who can afford to do so should provide housing for themselves, and those unable to do so from their own resources should have access to social housing or income support to rent private housing.
SkibbereenTown Council's function as a housing authority is
- Provision and management of rented local authority housing for those unable to provide housing from their own resources.
- Provision and management of accommodation for travellers;
- Promoter of home ownership through tenant purchase schemes. The Shared Ownership Scheme and loan options are also available to those who fulfil certain criteria. These schemes are operated by Cork County Council;
- Facilitator for approved voluntary or non-profit housing organisations in provision of rented accommodation and facilities;
- Enforcer of housing standards and controls in relation to private rented dwellings.
- Housing Act 1966 – Acquisition of Land, provision of housing, Tenant Purchase Schemes, Unfit Houses, Overcrowding, Scheme of Letting Priorities, Compulsory Purchase, Rent Schemes.
- Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1979 - Loans, grants and subsidies.
- Housing Act 1988 - Homeless Persons Act.
- Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1992 – Voluntary Housing Schemes, Statements of policy on management of local authority dwellings and counteraction of social segregation.
- Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1997 - gave local authority powers on anti-social behaviour/estate management.
- Housing (Traveller Accommodation) Act 1998.
- Planning and Development Act, 2000 – Housing Strategy, Compulsory Purchase.
The Manager has overall responsibility for Housing Administration with the Town Clerk and Administrative Staff providing a range of housing services.
Skibbereen Town Council has overall responsibility for the building and maintenance of local authority houses. The Senior Executive Architect and staff provide the plans for new houses and the Town Council looks after maintenance.
The following range of housing services is provided by Skibbereen Town Council:-
- Provision and management of rented Local authority housing.
- Building and repair of houses.
- Extensions to local authority houses in lieu of rehousing.
- Extensions/alterations to local authority houses for needs of disabled persons
- Remedial schemes.
- Bathroom schemes.
- Assessment of housing needs; Housing and Transfer Applications;
- Operation of Housing Rent System;
- Rent and Tenant Purchase Annuity collection.
- Liaison with Tenant/Resident groups.
- Assistance to persons providing housing for themselves.
- Improvements in lieu of rehousing.
- Tenant Purchase Scheme administration.
- Voluntary Housing.
- Control of Private Rented Dwellings.
Building/Acquisition of Houses
Skibbereen Town Council has approx. 90 rented properties in its ownership. Each year a number of new houses are built/acquired while a number of houses will be sold to existing tenants under Tenant Purchase Schemes.
An “Assessment of Housing Needs” is carried out by the Local Authority every three years to establish housing requirements in the area. This assessment is currently being carried out and forms the basis for allocation of housing starts by the Department of the Environment and Local Government.
The Department of the Environment & Local Government notifies each Housing Authority of its housing starts allocation, which is the number of houses, which can be purchased or constructed. Multi-annual programmes over four year periods have been introduced to facilitate forward planning. These houses, along with casual vacancies, which arise, are then available for letting.
The tenants’ responsibility to maintain the property in good condition is included in the “Letting Agreement” which is signed at commencement of a tenancy. The details of the respective responsibilities of both the Council and the tenant are included in the Letting Agreement.
Where the requirement for repairs arises from neglect or abuse of the property by the tenants, the tenant is responsible.
Repair requests should be made to the Town Council Offices, North Street, Skibbereen, Co. Cork.
Application for Rented Local Authority Houses
To apply for this accommodation it is necessary to complete an application form which can be obtained, along with full details, at the Town Council Office or on the website. Transfer applications from existing tenants will be also considered.
Your application will be assessed under the “Scheme of Letting Priorities”.
In considering your application various reports may be sought and taken into consideration e.g.
- Medical Report.
- Health Board Social Worker Reports.
- Environmental Health Officers Report.
- Housing Social Worker Report.
- Report from other Local Authority if previously a tenant.
Allocation of Vacant Houses
As vacancies arise, they will be allocated in accordance with the “Scheme of Letting Priorities” and the Council’s “Statement of Policy on Housing Management”.
The “Letting Agreement” sets out the conditions applying to the tenancy and must be signed by each tenant.
Skibbereen Town Council welcomes tenant participation in the management of its housing estates.
Rent on Local Authority Dwellings
Rents on all allocated houses are based on the “Differential Rents Scheme” as updated.
This scheme sets minimum and maximum rents for Local Authority Houses with rents charged on the basis of the household income.
Housing Rent/Tenant Purchase Annuity Collection
Skibbereen Town Council gives the following options in relation to method of paying rent or tenant purchase annuities.
- Payment at the Town Council, during opening hours.
- Payment through An Post Household Budget Scheme for tenants in receipt of certain Social Welfare payments.
For further details, please check with The Council Office.
Non-Payment of housing rent may lead to legal action for recovery of the amount due and/or the house.
Local Authority Loans for Home Purchase and Improvement.
Improvement Works in lieu of Local Authority Housing.
This scheme allows a local authority to improve or extend privately owned accommodation for an approved applicant as an alternative to providing local authority housing. Persons benefiting under this scheme are required to pay a weekly or monthly charge related to their means and the cost of the works carried out on the house.
Tenant Purchase Scheme
Tenants of a local authority house for at least one year, may apply to purchase the house which they have rented, either outright or by way of shared ownership. The price of the house will be the market value as determined by the Local Authority, less discount for years of tenancy. The purchaser must fund the purchase by mortgage loan from a local authority or lending agency or from other resources.