Review of tenant purchase scheme

Cavan County Council members have said a review of a tenant purchase scheme should enable persons in receipt of a pension with financial resources to buy out their council home under the programme.

A motion calling for the review was tabled by Cllr Sean Smith (FF) asking the minister to consider those who are under the income threshold, but have a good record of making payments to the local authority.

The Tenant (Increment) Purchase scheme 2016 scheme facilitates the purchase of existing local authority houses from Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage. The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O'Brien, scheme allows purchaser pays the market value of the house – less a discount. Depending on income, the discounts will vary between 40% and 60%. The local authority will also place a charge on your house called an ‘incremental purchase charge’. This charge will be equal to the discount on the price of the house. The charge will remain in place for 20, 25 or 30 years (depending on the discount given).

The Tenant Purchase scheme came into effect on January 1, 2016. Under it social housing tenants with a minimum income of €15,000 per annum are eligible. Applicants must be in employment. Applicants with a poor credit history, a record of anti-social behaviour or who have already purchased a property from the Council are not eligible for the scheme

In the reply the Housing, Local Government and Heritage's, Private Secretary said : “A review of the first 12 month of the scheme's operation has been undertaken. In additions the programme for Government commits to maintaining the right of social housing tenants to purchase their own homes with some changes to eligibility. The review and the commitments in the Programme for Government are being examined as part of the work on the broader social housing reform agenda.”

The missive concluded by saying: “The minister expects to be in a position to finalise changes to the Scheme once the work on these reform measures is complete.”

Cllr Sean Smith said that the response was “as expected” but expressed the hope that the review of the scheme would continue. Cllr Trevor Smith (FG) said he hoped the Minister would instigate changes to the scheme in the future as he believed most councils would welcome this.