Written answers

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government

Tenant Purchase Scheme Eligibility

Photo of Jan O'SullivanJan O'Sullivan (Limerick City, Labour)
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508. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government if he will amend the requirement by which there must be a household income other than from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection in order for a tenant to qualify for the tenant purchase scheme; if a person in receipt of carer's allowance or carer's benefit can qualify if that person satisfies other criteria in view of the fact that persons who have to care full-time for a relative cannot accept employment at the same time; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20858/19]

Photo of Eoghan MurphyEoghan Murphy (Dublin Bay South, Fine Gael)
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The Tenant (Incremental) Purchase Scheme is open to eligible tenants, including joint tenants, of local authority houses that are available for sale under the Scheme. To be eligible, tenants must meet certain criteria, including having a minimum reckonable income of €15,000 per annum and having been in receipt of social housing support for at least one year.

The minimum reckonable income for eligibility under the scheme is determined by the relevant local authority in accordance with the detailed provisions of the Ministerial Direction issued under Sections 24(3) and (4) of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2014. In the determination of the minimum reckonable income, local authorities include income from a number of different sources and classes, such as from employment, private pensions, maintenance payments and certain social welfare payments, including pensions, where the social welfare payment is secondary to employment income. A number of income sources, including carer’s allowance, are disregarded for the purposes of determining reckonable income.

In determining reckonable income, the income of all tenants of the house, including adult children that are joint tenants, is included, as is the income of the spouse, civil partner or other partner/co-habitant of a tenant who lives in the house with them, thus ensuring the appropriate level of discount is applied to the purchase price.

The minimum income criterion was introduced in order to ensure the sustainability of the scheme. Applicants must demonstrate that they have an income that is long-term and sustainable in nature. This ensures that the tenant purchasing the house is in a financial position, as the owner, to maintain and insure the property for the duration of the charged period, in compliance with the conditions of the order transferring the ownership of, and responsibility for, the house from the local authority to the tenant.

In line with the commitment given in the Government's Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan on Housing and Homelessness, a review of the operation of the first 12 months of the Tenant Purchase (Incremental) Scheme has been completed and a full report has been prepared setting out findings and recommendations.

Following consideration of a number of implementation issues arising, I expect to be in a position to publish the Review shortly.

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