Updated: 30/04/18 : 07:44:40
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Almost €100k spent refurbishing one Sligo Council house

It has emerged that almost €100,000 was spent refurbishing one derelict social housing unit in Sligo last year.

Ten long-term derelict void units were brought back into use by Sligo County Council at a cost of €544,393 in 2017, according to figures released under the Freedom of Information Act.

Irishtimes.com reports that the council said the maximum spend on one unit was €96,507 for a house in the Tubercurry area that required “major refurbishment”.

It said it now “inspects such properties as soon as practicable after vacancy”.

Voids occur when tenants vacate houses or flats, either transferring to somewhere more suitable or leaving to purchase their own property. The death of a tenant or a marital breakdown can also result in a void unit.

The council said work included new footpaths, walls, doors, a new heating system, rewiring, the replacement of some ceilings, tiling, painting and decorating.

Dublin City Council spent almost €16 million refurbishing void houses and apartments last year. The council spent on average €18,037 doing up 879 units.

It has a social housing stock of 24,454 with 2.06 per cent of this currently void and in the process of being refurbished.

“Dublin City Council has a considerable amount of older housing stock and in many cases refurbishment works would not take place during a tenancy, resulting in substantial works often being required,” a spokeswoman said.

“However, this investment in properties allows us to provide a better quality of life for tenants and improve their energy performance.”

Some places are left in a deplorable state, vandalised by individuals, and some places have to be turned around because of general dilapidation

The council said the properties were refurbished with funding contributions from the Department of Housing and that 177 refurbishments would have been classified as long term voids.

Dublin city councillor Mannix Flynn said: “There should be no voids in the system, particularly when you have a housing emergency.

“The impact on a family who are homeless or who are in hotels seeing a void is really devastating on them because it’s a bit like starving people seeing food being wasted.”

The Independent councillor said the timescale for refurbishing voids varies from a number of weeks to up to a year in some cases.

“Some places are left in a deplorable state, vandalised by individuals and some places have to be turned around because of general dilapidation,” he said.

“Other times the council are stripping out people’s own input, where someone does up a house and the council strip it all out because their insurance won’t cover it.”