The issue of so-called ‘bad tenants’ was discussed at last week’s meeting of Longford County Council. The meeting heard that the County Council currently has a housing stock of 1,489 which includes 1,376 occupied units; 66 vacant and 47 classed as redundant.
In total 113 local authority houses in Longford are not in use – 47 of those are out of use, because they have been so badly damaged by tenants that the cost to the local authority to refurbish them will now run into millions of euro.
“Where are these houses – we need to identify what exactly the problems are and then look at the problem areas?” Cllr Padraig Loughrey questioned.
Head of Finance at Longford County Council, Barry Lynch said that €3.5m had already been spent by the local authority in an effort to bring a number of the damaged properties back into use, but he informed the meeting that it would require a further €1.9m to bring all the properties “back into circulation”.
“Some of these houses are in a very bad state,” Cllr Tom Victory (FF) said. “There needs to be some kind of a reward system put into place for the good tenants who do look after their homes.
“The way some tenants leave those houses is totally unacceptable. They have no respect for their houses, neighbours; good tenants should be rewarded. Those who damage houses should never get a house again.”
Cllr Denis Glennon (FF) said that while “the bulk of tenants were good”, the problem ones wreaked havoc.
“We can all spot a good tenant – they don’t cost anything and cause no trouble,” he continued. “I am hearing the same story about bad tenants for the last 20 years on this council; I certainly would agree that some sort of recognition be given to those who do look after their homes.”
“Some of the homes have been left very unsafe,” said Cllr Peggy Nolan (FG). “Anything that could be stripped has been stripped; everthing that could be burned was burnt including doors, presses – the houses are shells.”
Cllr Paul Connell (Ind) said work had already been carried out on estates across the county including Padraic Colum Heights in Longford town and the €2m spent on the regeneration of Granard’s Colmcille Terrace almost 17 years ago.
“Colmcille Terrace in Granard is as bad as ever,” he said. “The blagardism that is going on is totally unaceptable at these estates – they are turning them into Beruit.”
“I have to agree with Cllr Connell,” added Cllr Frank Kilbride (FG). “Three quarters of Colmcille Terrace in Granard is boarded up – they have turned it into a small bit of Beruit.”
Cllr Luie McEntire said, “Tenants who damage homes should never be rehoused again.”
“It is going to cost an enormous amount of money to fix all the houses and I do agree that good tenants should be rewarded,” said Mr Lynch. “The vast majority of tenants are good – it is only a small minority that cause the problems.”