Limerick City and County Council is to introduce a new single rent scheme for tenants of the council, whether they live in the city or county, from next month. This includes all tenants in council-owned homes and those in receipt of Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS) and Leased Accommodation support and Housing Assistance Payment (HAP).
Up until now rents were calculated differently in the city and county, there were anomalies in both schemes and you were not comparing like-for-like in a fair manner. The operation of the two schemes was a legacy of having two separate local authorities for Limerick.
The new single calculation method will continue to use the differential rent system, which means that the amount of rent you pay depends on the amount of your total household income. If your income increases, so does your rent, and if your income decreases, the weekly rent decreases accordingly.
The key objectives of the new harmonised Rent Scheme are:
- To ensure that it is fair and equitable
- To protect those on lowest incomes. Underlying principle is tenants paying what they can afford, i.e. the higher the income, the higher the rent
- To protect tenants from excessive increases in rents
- To provide long-term certainty and stability to tenants
The new scheme will see that:
- For 28.8% of tenants, the new scheme will result in a reduction in their rent
- For 7.6% of tenants, the rents will be unchanged
- For 42.6% of tenants, the rent increase will be less than €5
- For 7.9% of tenants, the rent increase will be between €5 and €10
- For 9.9% of tenants, the rent increase will be between €10 and €20
- For a further 2.8% of tenants, the rent increase will be between €20 and €50
- 0.4% of tenants will have their rents increased by more than €50
Maximum rents which have been applied in a number of city estates are to be phased out over a four year period.
Letters have been sent to all tenants outlining the new system and informing them of their new rent, which comes into effect from 03 February 2020 for existing and new Differential and Fixed Rent tenancies, RAS and Leased Accommodation tenancies and 17 February 2020 for HAP tenancies.
As part of the wider review, Limerick City and County Council is to ringfence the additional rental income as part of a new €15 million maintenance programme to upgrade the social housing stock across the city and county.
This programme will begin in 2020 with a needs assessment of a sample of houses in each of the metropolitan and municipal districts to measure the extent of works that will be required.
For more information on the new Rent Scheme and FAQ visit www.limerick.ie/differential-rent-scheme.