Surveyors scour land to inspect old buildings that can be adapted for housing

The housing agency is to hire consultants to advise local authorities on whether commercial properties, large apartments and hospitality venues such as hotels and B&Bs can be used for social housing.

The state agency estimates that housing surveyors, builders and appraisers inspect about 60 buildings nationwide each year and receive advice on their suitability prior to purchase.

This represents a departure from previous practices where appraisers were hired on a case-by-case basis to appraise specific properties. It also shows how municipalities are struggling to meet the demand for housing.

The experts are tasked with making recommendations to the housing authority on the suitability of commercial buildings for conversion to residential use.

There is no indication of how many people will be accommodated under the plans or how many homes will be purchased – but the focus will be on acquiring large homes for families and on buildings that can be renovated and converted into housing.

The Housing Agency works with the Ministry of Housing, local councils and approved housing organizations to provide housing and housing services.

However, since the supply of housing is limited, municipalities and housing authorities are finding it increasingly difficult to cope with the enormous demand for housing.

The agency said it will spend an estimated €500,000 a year on appraisers to survey large properties.

Existing homes inspected under the plan will have five or more bedrooms. Experts make an “overall recommendation on the suitability of the property for purchase and/or future residential use”.

A spokeswoman said the housing agency will receive a detailed inventory of the buildings and a review of all aspects of each property.

“This will help the housing agency and its stakeholders better understand the property’s suitability for acquisition and/or future use for housing,” she added.

Surveyors must note “the significant repairs identified and the expected timeframes for returning the property to service.”

“Final suitability or conversion options will be influenced by the survey results for each property surveyed. Since experts make an “overall recommendation on the suitability of the property for acquisition and/or future use for housing”, not all of the assessed properties will lead to an acquisition,” the spokeswoman continued.

Municipalities have recently come under increased pressure to source housing as the need to accommodate people fleeing the conflict in Ukraine has increased demand for housing.

Last month, Housing Secretary Darragh O’Brien said local authorities had identified more than 500 vacant buildings that could house thousands of refugees from Ukraine.

Separate assessments are conducted for these buildings, many of which include community halls, former commercial or educational buildings, and religious centers. Surveyors scour land to inspect old buildings that can be adapted for housing

Fry Electronics Team

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