More Laois council tenants falling behind in rent payments
More council tenants are falling behind in rents in Laois since the Covid-19 pandemic began.
Laois County Council’s Director of Finance Gerry Murphy has revealed a drop in income this year from rents among other revenue sources.
“Laois had one of the best rent collections,it was in the top three or four in Ireland for the last four of five years, with a 96% collection rate.
By the end of July 2019, arrears were at €230,000 but by the same period in 2020 they are at €488,000,” he said.
There is also a drop in income from street parking fees which were waived from March to June.
“Parking fees we collected €317,000 last year by the end of July. This year that was at €157,000. There is a shortfall,” he said.
He was giving details at the recent Local Property Tax meeting, at which it was agreed to keep the tax at the same level on Laois homeowners in 2021.
In the report on the council’s financial position, Mr Murphy said “Covid-19 has left this council with significant challenges in balancing its books for 2020”.
“Income from parking charge and planning fees is unlikely to meet our budgetary targets. We are experiencing difficulties in rent and loan collection and arrears have increased in both of these areas. The collection of rates from businesses will be difficult. The six month waiver of commercial rates for businesses forced to close or which remained open but suffered significant reductions in turnover due to Covid-19 is very welcome as is the decision by Government to refund the cost of this waiver to local authorities,” he said.