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Council urged to improve maintenance of housing stock

Laois County Council need to prioritise a plan to improve their current housing stock, according to Portlaoise’s Sinn Féin councillor Caroline Dwane-Stanley.

She was speaking at the most recent meeting of the Portlaoise Municipal District where she said council tenants who have been renting for the past 30-40 years have left hugely frustrated and waiting for long periods for vital repairs to be carried out on their homes.

“Certainly over the past 12 months there have been a number of tenants looking for various repairs, particularly elderly tenants who have been renting for 30-40 years,” she said at Wednesday morning’s remote meeting.

“There is problem with rising damp, windows, doors and in presses.

“I’m mindful of budgetary constraints and we’re always told there’s no funding but when a house is re-let, a contractor comes in and brings the house up to a certain standard.

“Yet there is no funding for repairs for the house next door.”

While the Laois County Council response said the Housing Department completed 3,269 maintenance work orders to social housing units in 2020 and that they are preparing a plan for the retrofit of council houses, Cllr Dwane-Stanley said that as landlords, the council need to ensure that their tenants renting are looked after.

She said that only five kitchens are being installed per year and that there are more than 50 on the waiting list.

“You have 30-40 years of wear and tear and if you’re only doing five kitchens per year and you’re No 50 on the list, you’ll be waiting 10 years.”

Cllr Dwane-Stanley’s motion was supported by Cllr Tuohy, who said that “repairs are vital” and he has concerns for older residents and residents that have a disability.

“They have supported the council for years with rent. It’s vital we support them now.”

And Cllr Thomasina Connell, the chairperson of the Portlaoise District, also offered her support and said “an entire review needs to be done”.

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