South Dublin council is owed over €7m in rent arrears

Council says tenants are failing to meet their obligations despite reasonable charges

South Dublin County Council  is owed more than €7.5m in rent arrears, according to figures released at a council meeting on Monday. File photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto

South Dublin County Council is owed more than €7.5m in rent arrears, according to figures released at a council meeting on Monday. File photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto

 

South Dublin County Council (SDCC) is owed more than €7.5 million in rent arrears, according to figures released at a council meeting on Monday.

At the meeting, the council said that 6,807 of its tenants’ accounts were in arrears.

Arrangements to pay off these arrears were in place in 67 per cent of cases.

SDCC said it charges its tenants a reasonable rent, but many still fail to meet their obligations.

“The council operates its differential rent scheme to ensure that the rent charged is reasonable and does not create hardship [or] financial difficulties.

“The rent is based on 10 per cent approximately of total net household income, with many income sources being disregarded for rent purposes,” it said, in response to a question from Independent councillor Francis Timmons.

“Notwithstanding the economic rent of 10 per cent charged under the differential rent scheme, tenants continue to fail to meet their rent obligations,” it added.

According to the council, 2,960 accounts in Tallaght South were in arrears, with €3.6 million rent outstanding on gale day, February 21st.

In Clondalkin, 2,248 accounts were in arrears, with €2,696,183 rent outstanding.

The average outstanding amount in the areas of Lucan, Rathfarnham and Tallaght Central was €408,000.

In Templeogue, 150 accounts were in arrears to the value of €177,000.

Early intervention

SDCC said its rents team administers a system of early intervention whereby tenants who are at risk of falling into arrears are contacted as early as possible.

The council said: “Tenants who are falling behind with rent payments are encouraged to make contact with the housing rents team for the purpose of reviewing their financial circumstances and negotiating a debt management plan for payment of their weekly differential rent, plus a realistic and tenable amount towards their rent arrears.

“Going forward, rent arrears management will target resources on areas with the aim to provide an annual review of all rents by 2018.

“The Housing Inspectorate will continue to provide early intervention and help tenants with arrears to manage their accounts, in line with the council rents policy.”

Despite the new figures, the council said that rent arrears have dropped in the past 12 months.