Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Questions (366)

Martin Ferris


366. Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the minimum rent a local authority tenant can pay. [15158/14]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

Each housing authority is responsible, under section 58 of the Housing Act 1966, for determining the rent for its dwellings, subject to complying with broad principles laid down by my Department, notably that the rent payable should be related to household income and that low-income households should pay a lower proportion of income in rent. No guidance has issued to housing authorities in relation to charging their tenants a minimum rent under the current arrangements.

Section 31 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009 provides for significant harmonisation of differential rent levels nationally, while retaining some discretion for individual authorities in setting rents in their own areas. I intend to make regulations in the coming months so as to provide for new arrangements in determining local authority rents and in doing so am minded to set a standard minimum weekly rent payable for a local authority dwelling at the same level as the minimum weekly contribution that rent supplement beneficiaries are currently required to pay towards the rent of their accommodation. My intention is that households on higher incomes will pay higher rent on that account. Housing authorities will also be empowered, under section 31 of the 2009 Act, to make a charge in the rent for specified works and services provided to dwellings.