Homeowners dealing with the aftermath of lax regulation must be supported
The Green Party today called for the Government to introduce measures to assist homeowners to carry out essential remedial works in defective buildings.
Green Party Deputy Leader Catherine Martin TD said today: “The Minister for Housing, Eoghan Murphy, said this morning that he will consider proposals to aid homeowners pay for remediation work. Last week the Dáil passed a Green Party motion on building standards, regulation, and homeowner protection which set out a number of measures to assist people who find themselves in the awful position of discovering serious defects with their home, with no assistance available to them. We’re calling for the Minister to consider the proposals outlined in the motion.
“There are tens of thousands of homeowners in this country affected by building defects. We’re all aware of the high profiles examples of Priory Hall, and Longboat Quay but there are many more homeowners throughout the country who are suffering in silence. It was disappointing that Fine Gael and their colleagues in Government the Independent Alliance did not support the Green Party’s motion which included a call on Government to prepare and publish options for the financing and carrying out of remedial works to housing units for the orderly remediation of legacy defects in housing. Just last week I was contacted by a constituent facing a bill of up to €38,000 to remediate building defects, with absolutely no support or recourse available to them. This is unacceptable.
“We’re calling for the Home Renovation Scheme to be extended to cover remediation works. It’s ridiculous that someone renovating a spare room can get tax relief on their costs, but somebody paying to rectify critical construction defects does not get similar supports. Income tax and VAT incentives could be included in this. Another relatively simple measure that would ease the burden on homeowners is making properties affected by serious building defects exempt from property tax.
“Often, the main issue for homeowners is the up-front costs of addressing the issues in defective buildings. The Government should set up a loan fund, similar to those under Section 71 of the 1966 Housing Act, to offer interest-free loans to people who can’t afford the costs of remediation.
“Finally, the Government must introduce a transmissible warranty of quality from developers and builders. Under current rules, only the first owner of a house is covered. This ends if ownership transfers. With some defects taking a number of years to manifest, this is not good enough.”