Following proactive engagement between NAMA, the Housing Agency and the Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government, a process was established to ascertain whether residential properties made available by NAMA, through its borrowers and receivers, are suitable for social housing. Properties that are deemed suitable may be leased or purchased by local authorities or Approved Housing Bodies (housing associations and co-operatives) through engagement with the property owners or, on their behalf, appointed insolvency practitioners, facilitated by NAMA.
The onus is on housing authorities to establish the suitability of the properties concerned. Once demand has been confirmed, NAMA facilitates contact and negotiation between the property owner/receiver and the authority concerned. Contractual arrangements can take the form of a lease or purchase. In general, purchases are completed by Approved Housing Bodies and the properties acquired are then made available to local authorities under a payment and availability agreement.
An important consideration for local authorities when assessing the suitability of houses and apartments identified by NAMA is the requirement to provide for an appropriate mix of housing tenures and to avoid undue segregation in housing within developments and specific areas.
In addition to contracting directly with property owners and following a review of issues linked to the delivery of properties identified by NAMA, a special purpose vehicle, National Asset Residential Property Services Limited, has been established as an additional delivery mechanism. The SPV will operate by purchasing properties directly from the property owners or receivers and making them available to local authorities and Approved Housing Bodies by way of a long term lease. In this way a number of the issues arising from the provision of properties for social housing can be addressed and the process can move more quickly.
Another feature of the process is that many of the properties being considered may require substantial investment in works to make them suitable for occupation and NAMA is providing funding to make properties ready for occupation.