Dublin landlords got average €1,266 a month from social rent scheme
Three councils paid out €33.3m under rental accommodation scheme in 2017
The average rent paid under the scheme was highest in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown at €1,577 a month, followed by South Dublin council at €1,232 a month, and Fingal at €1,173 a month. Photograph: Getty Images
Private landlords in Dublin received an average of €1,266 a month from three local authorities for properties they leased under the State’s rental accommodation scheme in 2017, new council figures show.
Data provided under the Freedom of Information Act show that Fingal County Council, South Dublin County Council and Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council paid €33.3 million to private landlords on 2,197 properties last year under the scheme, a State support for people on waiting lists for social housing. This was down slightly from €33.4 million paid by the three local authorities in 2016.
Under the scheme local authorities arrange contracts with landlords to provide housing for people who have been on waiting lists for more than 18 months and pay rent directly to the landlord on the behalf of the tenants.
South Dublin County Council accounted for the highest amount of the three councils under the scheme, paying out €17.1 million in respect of 1,156 rental properties, followed by Fingal with €9.9 million on 704 properties and Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown with €6.4 million on 337 properties.
The average rent paid under the scheme was highest in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown at €1,577 a month, followed by South Dublin council at €1,232 a month and Fingal at €1,173 a month. Dublin City Council did not provide figures.
In addition to the rental accommodation scheme or RAS payments, the three councils paid out a further €4.8 million for long-term lease arrangements on 303 properties in 2017 – up 22 per cent on the prior year.
The average monthly rent paid under long-term leasing agreements was, at €1,320 a month, slightly higher than the average sum paid under RAS payments. These agreements last 10 to 20 years and rent is calculated at a maximum of 80 per cent of the open market rent of the property.
Properties in South Dublin County Council accounted for the highest monthly rent, at €1,574 a month, followed by Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown at €1,249 a month and Fingal at €1,068 a month.
The councils refused to provide the names of the landlords who rented properties to social housing applicants or the addresses of their properties in response to the Freedom of Information Act request.
“There is a genuine concern that identifying a list of individual landlords/property owner (sic) and such property locations would cause significant harm to the owners of the properties or their agents in their dealings with the council now or in the future,” said Fingal County Council.
“This would also cause significant harm to the council in the efficient and effective execution of duties as a local authority.”
South Dublin County Council provided figures showing the amount paid under availability agreements with landlords that typically last between one and 10 years and amount to 92 per cent of the market rent.
In 2017, the council paid landlords €2 million under these agreements and €4.6 million to approved housing bodies (AHBs), including under availability agreements with these associations. This was up from €1.8 million and €3.2 million respectively in 2016.
Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council disclosed that it entered into agreements with two landlords on properties for emergency homeless accommodation last year: 12 properties that each house a single family at a cost of €199,000 and a single property for 17 homeless families at a cost of €75,000.
Figures released by the Department of Housing this week showed that 75 per cent of the 25,892 households who had their “[Social] housing needs met” in 2017 were housed in private rented accommodation rather than in homes built by local authorities or housing charities.