PAYMENT OF WATER CHARGES WILL BE CONDITION OF NEW TENANT PURCHASE SCHEME

27 November 2015 No Comments by The Northern Standard

PETER HUGHES

Monaghan Co Council was informed at its Statutory Budget Meeting on Friday last that people availing of a new scheme under which they can purchase the local authority houses they are renting will have to have paid their water charges in order to avail of the scheme.

The scheme is expected to come into effect early next year, and members agreed to have a presentation on its details at the January Council meeting.

During a discussion on the housing element of the Co Council’s 2016 Budget, Fine Gael representative Ciara McPhillips said that she was delighted to hear that a tenant purchase scheme for next year had been launched, and asked if the Council needed to make any provision for it in their Budget.

Jackie Crowe (Sinn Féin) welcomed the fact that a new tenant purchase scheme was to be introduced, but asked if it was true that people who hadn’t paid their property tax wouldn’t be eligible for it.

Head of Finance John Murray said that the local authority paid the property tax on houses it rented so that didn’t apply, but it would be a requirement to avail of the scheme that tenants had paid their water charges.

Colr Crowe described this condition as “absolutely scandalous”, stating that these were completely different issues. “We are talking of people owning their own homes,” he added.

Pat Treanor (SF) asked if there was any definite starting date for the new tenant purchase scheme.

Mr Murray said the Co Council had only received notification of the new scheme the previous Wednesday. Training in relation to it was being provided for local authority staff next Tuesday, after which they would be able to give broader details.

Mr Murray added that under the new scheme the discount available to tenants would be based on income, not longevity of tenure. He thought that if someone had to pay €200 in water charges in order to get a €20,000 discount on their property, it would appeal to them to do so.

He believed that under the new scheme there would be 40%, 50% and 60% discount available based on different income levels. Tenants would be able to borrow from the Co Council or from private institutions.

To avail of the scheme, a tenant must have their water charges paid, and they could not be in arrears of rent without addressing it for more than 12 consecutive weeks in a three-years period. Older person’s dwellings or OPDs could not be sold under the scheme.

Mr Murray informed Colr P Treanor that people on lower income would get the higher discount.

Housing Officer Drew Hurley said he expected that at the training meeting the following week clarification would emerge on the forms of income that the scheme would have regard to.

Mr Murray said that loans the Co Council gave out would be subject to the approval of their credit committee….

 

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