An official request has been made to raise the income threshold for people to qualify for a council house in Laois.
At the moment the county is in the lowest income bracket, one below that of neighbour Kilkenny and two levels below Kildare.
It means that a couple with children earning over €30,000 between them in Laois are considered too wealthy to qualify for the waiting list for a council home. A couple with no children must be earning under €25,000 a year.
It leaves many people between a rock and a hard place in Laois, as they are on too low an income to qualify for a commercial mortgage, a point that has been raised for many years by county councillors here.
Laois County Council has now sought to raise the level to €36,000 from the Department of Housing.
Joe Delaney is the Director of Services for Housing.
“The threshold is the issue. It is at €30,000 for families. It is something we have asked to be reviewed at national level. We are in a particular band. We feel that the level of property prices and private rental could bring us into the second band of €36,000.
“It means that people earning €35,000 aren’t in a position to own their own house. This will add to the housing waiting list naturally but it should be reviewed,” Mr Delaney said.
He spoke on the issue at the March meeting of Laois County Council, after Cllr Thomasina Connell had said that the housing income threshold was too low in Laois.
So far in 2021, 47 homes have been given to Laois people on the housing waiting list. There is a total of 1,653 people on the list, including 981 people receiving a Housing Assistance Payment towards the cost of renting privately.