The minister said about 8,000 units owned by nursing home residents are lying vacant. Alamy Stock Photo

Cabinet approves Fair Deal rule change in order to bring thousands of vacant houses back into use

Nursing home residents will be able to keep 60% of rental income under changes to the scheme.

CABINET HAS AGREED to change the rule governing rental income under the Fair Deal scheme.

Under the scheme at present, a nursing home resident must hand over 80% of all rental income raised from their main residence to pay for their care.

Ministers agreed to reduce this to 40% meaning nursing home residents will now be able to keep 60% of any money raised from rent.

The Fair Deal Scheme is a scheme of financial support for people who require long-term nursing home care in Ireland. It is designed to give financial assistance to those who require full-time nursing care, regardless of their financial circumstances.  

It is hoped the move today will bring 8,000 homes into the rental market.

While the initiative is part of the Government’s Housing for All plan, with the pressure mounting to find the capacity to house Ukrainian refugees, it is believed this rule change could have a significant impact.

New legislation is being drafted aimed at encouraging people who are on the scheme to rent their homes as part of a renewed effort to address the housing crisis.

The legislation will go to Committee Stage in April and should be enacted before the summer.

“Just today, and this isn’t related to Ukraine, this was this was an action in Housing for All, we had a memo brought by Stephen Donnelly and supported by myself, that now the contribution will go from 80% to 40%.

‘That should free up a lot of properties. I’m going to keep that under review for six months and we’ll review it then in November this year to see whether we need to reduce that further. It is a welcome change and it’s the most significant change that we’ve had Fair Deal since its establishment,” Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien said today.

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