Number of Council Houses Currently Boarded Up

Meeting of DĂșn Laoghaire Area Committee


Question: Councillor M. Baker:

To ask the Manager to provide details of the number of Council houses that are currently boarded up in each housing area, why they are boarded up and how soon will they be occupied?


The following is the position in relation to Council dwellings, which are currently vacant in each housing area in the Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown area:

Housing Area A Blackrock/Stillorgan

  • Dwellings vacant and available for letting: 5
  • Dwellings with Maintenance Department: 5
  • Dwellings held as part of a refurbishment/redevelopment programme: 5

Housing Area B Dún Laoghaire/Dalkey

  • Dwellings vacant and available for letting: 3
  • Dwellings with Maintenance Department: 7
  • Dwellings held as part of a refurbishment/redevelopment programme: 79

Housing Area C Ballinteer/Ballyogan

  • Dwellings vacant and available for letting: 3
  • Dwellings with Maintenance Department: 5
  • Dwellings held as part of a refurbishment/redevelopment programme: 0

Housing Area D Ballybrack/Shankill

  • Dwellings vacant and available for letting: 1
  • Dwellings with Maintenance Department: 3
  • Dwellings held as part of a refurbishment/redevelopment programme: 30

The length of time a Council dwelling is vacant between tenancies varies depending on the amount of works required to bring the dwelling to a standard for re-letting.


Vacant dwellings arise for a variety of reasons such as:

  • Death of tenant
  • Transfer of tenant(s)
  • Surrender by tenant(s)
  • Abandoned by tenant (s) – legal proceedings required
  • Dwellings acquired under the Housing Construction Programme

Before a dwelling is re-let the Housing Maintenance Section carries out an inspection to establish whether the dwelling is fit to reallocate or what works are required to make the dwelling fit for reallocation.

Areas that are examined are:

  • Structural condition
  • Electrical wiring
  • Central heating system and water storage tanks
  • Whether the dwelling and any fixtures and fittings including windows meet the fire safety standards
  • Decorative condition

Common problems that arise are instances where replacement windows installed by the tenants do not meet current fire safety standards. Alterations carried out by tenants including new kitchens, doors, electrical works etc., which do not meet safety standards. Some works undertaken by tenants have lead to structural problems with the dwellings. Other problems relate to the older dwellings, which may require complete rewiring, the installation of central heating, the provision of proper kitchen and bathroom facilities, damp proofing and insulation. The identification of a source of funding for such works can also lead to delays, as approval may be required from the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government.

Level and timing of vacancies

The level or timing of vacancies, which occur due to the death of a tenant or other reasons such as going into a nursing home, buying a house etc., cannot be predicted. In the case of a dwelling being surrendered because the tenant is e.g. buying a house, if prior notification is given by the tenant as required in the letting agreement, then it is possible to ensure that the tenant carries out any necessary repairs, which are tenant responsibility, however other works may also be required. While there is more control in relation to the timing of vacancies, which arise due to transfers, downsizing and buybacks there are still difficulties in relation to dealing with such dwellings:


Prior to a tenant being transferred their dwelling should be inspected to ensure it is in a fit condition to be allocated ideally immediately to another tenant and that any necessary maintenance works which are tenant responsibility are identified and carried out before the transfer takes place. However, there are also cases where routine maintenance works are required which are not tenant responsibility and which must be carried out before the dwelling can be re-let.


An external structural engineer who identifies works, which require to be carried out, inspects these dwellings before purchase. When the sale is completed an inspection is carried out by the relevant Housing Maintenance Inspector, which may result in additional works being identified. These works must be carried out before the dwelling can be allocated.

Current Policy

Dwellings available for re-letting:

Every effort is made to ensure that vacant dwellings are made available for letting at the earliest possible date, however, as can be seen from the foregoing report, various factors can effect the length of time a dwelling remains vacant. On average over 90% of vacant dwellings that are with the Housing Maintenance Section for repairs are re-let within 4 weeks. With regard to dwellings available for re-letting these are allocated as soon as possible, however, it should be noted that there can be significant delays due to the fact that housing and transfer applicants often refuse offers of accommodation.

Dwellings not available for re-letting

A total of 96 dwellings are currently vacant as a result of schemes of redevelopment or refurbishment being undertaken. For operational reasons it is not policy to re-let units due for demolition or refurbishment. In addition substantial financial and manpower resources would have to be made available to bring the majority of these units up to a reasonable standard for letting, thereby impacting negatively on the Council's Maintenance Programme and on timescale for completion of works on other vacant dwellings.

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