SDCC pricing is ‘way below’ the asking price by landlords

By Mary Dennehy

A TALLAGHT mother has claimed that South Dublin County Council is pricing itself out of private-rented market, with the local authority offering “way below” the asking price by landlords.

Working in Mount Carmel Hospital, Elaine Walker is on the council’s RAS (Rented Accommodation Scheme) and has been living in Aylesbury with her son for the past 11 years – with her 16-year-old boy sitting his Junior Cert at a local school this June.

Elaine01 

Two months ago, Elaine was given four months’ notice to leave her home – as her landlord is moving back into the house.

Elaine told The Echo: “I’m halfway through my notice and despite going to viewings, I am no closer to having a home in the area by July.

“I work and have excellent references and on two occasions landlords were interested in taking me on as a tenant, but the offer put forward by the council was way below the asking price.

“There are landlords out there who do not want to take people on the RAS or HAP scheme on.

“However, I met with two landlords who were happy to take me on pending negotiations with the council, but the offers were too low.”

She added: “I know rent rates are very high but the council is pricing itself and its tenants out of the market.

“I offered to top up the council’s offer myself but this idea was refused.

“I think the RAS scheme needs to be looked at and local authorities supported in being able to make competitive offers.

“I am terrified that come July I’ll be homeless with a 16-year-old, who is sitting his Junior Cert this June.

“The council has suggested that I may have to look at houses on the other side of the county, but why should I have to leave Tallaght? It’s not right that families on RAS and HAP who have created a life in a community are expected to leave all of that behind because the council are not negotiating on properties.

“My job is here, my son’s school is here, my grandchildren are here.”

Figures released by Daft.ie this week showed a 9.30 per cent national average rent increase, with rents in South County Dublin the highest in the country – at an average asking price of €1,663.

South Dublin County Council also has one of the highest number of tenants on the RAS and HAP [Housing Assisted Payments] nationwide – with 1,520 landlords participating in RAS and more than 800 tenancies processed under the HAP scheme, an initiative being piloted by a selected number of local authorities.

When contacted by The Echo, a spokeswoman for the council said: “The RAS scheme provides for payment to landlords of 92 per cent of the market rent where the council is responsible for maintenance of the property and 80 per cent of market rent where the landlord assumes responsibility for maintenance of the property.

“RAS tenants are nominated from South Dublin Country Council’s Housing List and pay a weekly Differential Rent to the Council based on an economic rent of 10 per cent of their income.

“South Dublin County Council is one of the highest performing local authorities nationally under the RAS scheme.”

She added: “Regarding the HAP scheme – the landlord rent payments is determined by reference to family size and, as with the RAS scheme, HAP tenants are required to have a Housing Needs Assessment and they pay a weekly differential rent to the council.”

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