Tenants on disability to pay council more rent


Council tenants in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown who have a disability allowance coming into their households will pay €10 extra in rent per week after councillors voted last night to introduce the increase.

A small number of households will see a second increase as the council also agreed for the first time to take half the value of family income supplement (Fis) into account when assessing council rent.

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council introduced the €10 rent increase as part of its budget for 2013.

Councillors were told the council’s housing rent scheme had disregarded “a subsidiary earner’s income from disability allowance” when calculating rent households should pay. It had also disregarded the Fis payment to primary earners in the home. This was out of line with the other Dublin authorities and should be changed, councillors were told.

The changes will raise €120,000 from March next year and €145,000 in a full year. Some 280 households will be affected by the disability increase and an estimated 10 households will be affected by the Fis change, county manager Owen Keegan said.

Councillors were told if a subsidiary earner was on minimum unemployment assistance he or she would be required to contribute €18 a week towards rent. Those under 21 on jobseeker’s allowance would be required to contribute €10.40.

People Before Profit councillor Melissa Halpin called the increase “cruel and unfair” and criticised its justification on the basis of equity with other local authorities in Dublin.

A motion, supported by Ms Halpin, People Before Profit councillor Hugh Lewis and Independent councillor Victor Boyhan, to reject the increase in rent and fund the shortfall by measures including suspending councillors’ rights to conference expenses for a year, was rejected by 24 votes to three.

The budget also included an increased charge to €3 a week for tenants who had “benefited” from upgraded central heating. They currently pay €2.50 more a week in rent than tenants who have not had their central heating upgraded.

There was also a 2 per cent reduction in rates to assist struggling businesses.