On Tuesday 21st of June 2022, the Cabinet approved the publication of legislation relating to an enhanced redress scheme for homeowners affected by Mica.
The basis of the Remediation of Dwellings Damaged by the Use of Defective Concrete Blocks Bill 2022 offers €2.7 billion in remediation to the 7,000 homes affected by the defective concrete blocks in counties Donegal, Mayo, Sligo, Tipperary, Clare and Limerick.
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar stated the scheme should be up and running “before the end of the year.” With the Government keen to commence the process, reparations seem ready to begin immediately.
Key features of the scheme include:
- Provisions for 100% grants subject to an overall maximum grant of €420,000.00 per dwelling.
- A government guarantee in regard to remediation works other than full demolition and rebuild through eligibility for a second grant if required for a period of 40 years.
- A revised application process which removes the financial barrier to scheme entry which will only require the homeowner to submit an initial ‘Building Condition Assessment’ at minimal cost recoupable on entry to the Scheme.
- The introduction of an independent appeals process for applicants with all key decisions under the scheme appealable by homeowners.
- Alternative accommodation and storage costs and immediate repair works to a maximum value of €25,000 within the overall grant cap.
Minister for Housing, Darragh O’Brien has noted that the scheme will be in place for “at least” 10 years. This is due to issues such as finding temporary accommodation for families forced to move during the reconstruction process. However, the Minister did say that that they are working with the Housing Agency to assist families.
Further still, there are concerns being voiced regarding residential units based within multiunit developments affected by Mica which have not been included in the new redress scheme. The Department of Housing has warned that other underlying defects may emerge.
There is also growing concern around inflation and how this might affect the cost of remuneration. The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) has reported that inflation, labour costs, and the addition of two counties has increased the redress by €500 million. Ministers were presented with a potential rise to €3.65 billion, putting €1.5 billion on the final taxpayer bill.
Despite these issues, there is at last some relief for the homeowners across Ireland affected by the defective concrete blocks, who may finally begin to see their lives return to normal.
About the author:s Avril Scally, Partner, and Nicholas Moore, Solicitor.