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Some pensioners in South Dublin to be hit with council house rent rise of more than €600

“Multi-person households” that include pensioners will not receive the €10 weekly discount.

South Dublin County Council says it has not raised rents in a number of years.
South Dublin County Council says it has not raised rents in a number of years.
Image: Shutterstock/thodonal88

SOME PENSIONERS LIVING in South Dublin council houses are to be hit with an increase in their rent of more than €600. 

Councillors from South Dublin County Council voted in favour of a rent increase of €3 per week for all council tenant households in 2020.

In addition, the rent discount of €10 for those in receipt of the state pension in households has been modified. 

While the council has continued its €10 weekly rent discount for households solely comprised of older persons, other old age pensioners will forfeit the discount.

“Multi-person households” that include pensioners will not receive the discount.

This means if another person, who is not of pensionable age, lives in the home, the discount cannot apply. 

The issue of raising rents for those in social housing in SDCC was raised in the Dáil this week by Rise TD Paul Murphy. 

“This is a cruel increase of €3 a week across the board regardless of income,” he said, referring to SDCC’s decision to increase the rents. 

“It is a heartless attack on some of the most vulnerable people on low incomes,” he said, stating that he is particularly concerned about the changes to the €10 discount for pensioners, which he said will now be removed for a substantial number of older people.

If someone is hit with a €13 rent hike per week, that amounts to over €600 per year to an old age pensioner, he said. 

A statement to TheJournal.ie from SDCC confirmed that rent changes were voted in recently: 

“The council’s differential rent charges are currently the lowest both in Dublin and nationally. The basis for calculation of our rent charges has not changed in over 20 years despite significantly increased spending on our housing stock in planned and response maintenance, re-let repairs and other areas in that period.”

A spokesperson said the rent increase of €3 per week is being implemented in 2020 to “reflect increased provision for these costs and other housing services in the council’s Budget”.

“Separately, we have continued our €10 weekly rent discount for households solely comprised of older persons. Other multi-person households that include older persons will not receive the discount,” added the statement.

They said the discount was originally introduced in the late 2000s as a temporary support measure, stating that the council’s rents scheme includes a clause to address hardship cases both sensitively appropriately.

Murphy said there is “shock” and “outrage” at the rent rise as it was not flagged with tenants. 

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Questions have been raised about whether other councils around the country, including Dublin City Council will follow in the footsteps of SDCC when it comes to deciding on next year’s Budget.

A spokesperson for Dublin City Council said it “is always conscious of the limited circumstances that many older people/pensioners in Dublin find themselves”.

They added that Dublin City Council has an Age Friendly Policy when it comes to policy formulation. 

The council meeting is due to meet on Monday to decide it’s annual Budget. A meeting took place of Dublin City councillors and officials last Monday evening to agree a budget for 2020 for the city, however, no decisions were reached. 

When asked about the issues of rising council rents, Tánaiste Simon Coveney said this week that it is an issue for the local authorities on how they deal with their tenants.

“I do not have the detailed rationale on why a decision may be made on modest increases in rent but I believe people have a right to ask the question,” he said. 

“I can understand the frustrations and anger over the housing crisis,” Coveney said.

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