We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

The Government believe that the change will bring 8,000 houses onto the rental market Alamy Stock Photo
housing committee

'At best unfruitful and at worst a waste': Charities hit out at changes to Fair Deal scheme

The Government changed the Fair Deal Scheme hoping to bring 8,000 properties onto the rental market.

ADVOCACY GROUPS REPRESENTING elderly people will raise concerns at Government plans to change the Fair Deal scheme to try and bring vacant properties back onto the rental market, calling it a “waste”.

There has also been calls for safeguards to be implemented to ensure that older people are not pressured into renting out their homes by family members who pocket the rental income.

The Fair Deal Scheme is a financial support scheme for people who enter into long-term nursing home care. It is designed to help older people pay the costs of nursing home care regardless of their financial situation and takes into account income and assets.

Changes to Fair Deal, which were agreed by Cabinet in early April, will allow nursing home residents to claim 60% of rental income rather than 20% which was allowed previously.

The Government hopes that the change will result in 8,000 homes entering the rental market.

The charity, Alone, which seeks to empower older people to continue living at home, will tell the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Housing today that the energy and resources used to free up houses will be “unfruitful” at best.

The charity says that the average stay in a nursing home is only 2.9 years, making the efforts less impactful.

“This figure alone should point to the fact that the energy and resources used to free up these homes will prove at best unfruitful and at worst a waste,” the charity will tell TDs and Senators.

“Clearing out and renting a person’s home while they are in a nursing home is an emotive and stressful solution that will yield a minuscule return compared to the targeted development of the right types of housing ALONE have identified.”

Age Action Ireland is also set to raise concerns about the changes to Fair Deal, calling for 100% of rental income to be kept by the older person as well as calling for safeguards to be implemented.

These include safeguards for people with impaired-decision making being assisted in making the decision to rent out their home rather than a decision being made on their behalf.

“We also need safeguards to prevent abuse, such as family members or others pushing an older person to rent out their home, or pocketing the rental income,” Age Action will say.

ALONE is also set to tell TDs that the current private rental sector does not fully serve the needs of elderly people.

“Our current model of housing provision that we are relying on, the private sector rental model, will not fully serve the community nor the needs of older people. If you are renting, there are more barriers and fewer choices available.

“If we continue to rely on the model as it stands today, with greater numbers renting into older age, we will see a dramatic increase in the older people homeless numbers support needs among this age group.”

The charity will call on the Government to focus on increasing numbers of local authority, Approved Housing Body (AHB) and subsidised housing developments.

According to ALONE, there will need to be long-term lease and cost rental properties being delivered on a greater scale as well as calling for measures to protect older tenants.


Both ALONE and Age Action are also calling for more work to be done around “right sizing”, where older people move to from their family home to a smaller home that better fits their needs.

ALONE will tell TDs that the demand from older people for right sized homes at present is 60,000 homes, while Age Action will say that many older people cannot right size as they cannot access bridging loans, as banks will only look at their overall income rather than the value of their assets.

“We have spoken to people who own their home outright and want to sell it to buy a cheaper home better suited to their needs. They cannot get a loan because mainstream banks look only at their income, not the value of their assets.”

The advocacy group has also raised concern with the lack of alternative accommodation within communities that would allow older people to rightsize without having to lose their existing social connections.

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel