A housing motion before the Tipperary County Council at this month’s meeting led to great debate in the chambers.

A motion to approve €4.1 million to refurbish 114 houses within the council stock was sanctioned, but not until a further motion by Cahir Councillor Andy Moloney to ask the minister to relax the spec on upgrading of houses to ensure a quicker turnover of housing stock.

Mr Moloney claimed that the spec was too high on the renovations of houses and it was holding up the transfers and approvals of housing within the local authority.

‘Good enough today … good enough tomorrow’

He claimed that a RECI approved electrician should inspect the electrics and wiring and not to be throwing out perfect appliances.

The Cahir councillor also asked that painting and decorating could be done by the tenants or the council in due course, but not have it as a barrier to allocate houses. 

“We have families on couches and in private accommodation as well as hotels and B&B that would love to be in their own house and would be very willing to move into a place to call home and do the decorating themselves. In most cases, they repaint the walls to suit curtains,” he said.

He also claimed that the spec was too high and either the government or the council should relax it during the current housing crisis and these works could be done once occupied. 

He continued, “If I was to have works done in my own house, they would have to be done while I’m still there. We are closing the doors of houses when tenants move out and not reopening again for months. If they were good enough to live in today they should be good enough tomorrow. 

“Our Tenant handbook should ensure that our housing stock is in good condition and at a price of €36,600 per house to renovate, this seems a lot”.

Eliminate ‘dead money’

Moloney stated that the provision of 114 houses, known as voids, will come into circulation if the loan is approved, but couldn’t understand why houses that only need minor repairs could not transfer faster. 

After much debate, the chairman Cllr Michael Smith agreed with the Cahir man and asked that he allow his motion to the Housing SPC for discussion, rather than the minister, as this could be dealt with locally.

Cllr Moloney agreed to the request once the committee could deal with it at the next meeting, but reiterated that houses with minor repairs need to be turned over immediately and eliminate what he called dead money in costs of hotels, hostels and B&Bs.