Council rents to increase, warns Stanley

Tenants of council houses will see an increase in their rents under the government’s new rent scheme, according to Laois/Offaly TD Brian Stanley.

Tenants of council houses will see an increase in their rents under the government’s new rent scheme, according to Laois/Offaly TD Brian Stanley.

“The Housing Amendment Act 2013 was enacted last July and it sets out new criteria for determining rents,” said Deputy Stanley. “A circular has recently been sent from the department giving guidance to local councils in implementing the new rents system.”

The proposed schedule will force local authorities to review all tenants during 2014, so that the new rents can be charged from January 1, 2015. Dep Stanley said this is a cynical manoeuvre by the government who are “pulling a stroke” by holding the rent increases until after next year’s local elections.

“Rents will be much higher right across the board for council tenants,” he said. “While the local council will manage the rent scheme, their room to manoeuvre has been severely curtailed by the government.”

Dep Stanley explained that the new scheme proposes minimum rents based on family size and an additional charge will apply where net household income exceeds a threshold. These are €14,000 for the first adult plus €10,000 for each further adult and €1,500 for each child or student. The additional charge will be applied across bands on an incremental basis as the household income increases.

“To make matters even worse for tenants, the rent increases coincide with the first water charges bills being issued, plus local councils will have the powers to increase the home tax from January 1, 2015,” he continued. “This is another step in the government’s austerity programme which will again hit many of those less well-off and many of whom are in receipt of social welfare payments.”