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Irish Council for Social Housing Welcomes Commencement of New Cost Rental Equity Loan (CREL) Scheme


Monday, 14th December 2021

Irish Council for Social Housing Welcomes Commencement of New Cost Rental Equity Loan (CREL) Scheme

The Irish Council for Social Housing (ICSH) has welcomed the commencement of the new Cost Rental Equity Loan (CREL) scheme and the ‘Call for Proposals’ to our housing association members, which will see the development of 350 cost rental homes by the housing association sector (also known as ‘approved housing bodies’)  in 2021.

Speaking on foot of today’s announcement by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, ICSH CEO, Donal McManus said ‘Cost rental housing is one of a number of important national housing policy responses to an ongoing affordability crisis. This model has operated well in other jurisdictions to provide long term, quality, secure and affordable accommodation to a wide cohort of renters.  Cost rental is a new long-term housing tenure model for Ireland that will help address affordability challenges for those who are not eligible for social housing. The development of mixed tenure and mixed income housing schemes, to include social housing, cost rental housing and affordable purchase homes, is a more balanced approach to addressing housing need across the income spectrum and one that can have a moderating influence on market rents over time.’

The central principle of cost rental housing is that the rents charged cover only the costs incurred in delivering (land, construction and finance costs), managing and maintaining the homes. A key objective of cost rental is to make available affordable housing for moderate-income households.

Donal McManus added ‘The 30% CREL loans will be long-term (40 years), with the remaining 70% of capital costs funded by low-interest, fixed-rate loans to AHBs from the Housing Finance Agency (HFA). In addition, the cost rental housing model will be put on a statutory footing in the forthcoming Affordable Housing Bill.  A coherent funding and legislative framework is important to ensure confidence from the sector that the model can be rolled out successfully and the challenge going forward is to ensure that genuine affordability for households will be locked into the model. The ICSH salutes the Department of Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage for acting swiftly on its Programme For Government promise to commence a cost rental housing programme. We look forward to working alongside the Housing Agency, Local Authorities, the Housing Finance Agency and the Land Development Agency toe deliver these 350 affordable homes in 2021, with a view to developing a robust and permanent cost rental housing solution for many more households across Ireland. Non-profit housing associations have a strong track record in the provision and management of housing and have the experience to assist Government in the delivery of new rental schemes that produce affordable rents.’