Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Questions (404)

Denis Naughten

Question:

404. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Social Protection if she will review the rent cap in south Roscommon in line with the recommendations of her own local officials, in view of the fact that the adjoining towns of Athlone and Ballinasloe have a significantly higher rent cap, which is resulting in a housing crisis locally; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21510/14]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

The purpose of the rent supplement scheme is to provide short-term income support to assist with reasonable accommodation costs of eligible people living in private rented accommodation who are unable to provide for their accommodation costs from their own resources. The overall aim is to provide short term assistance, and not to act as an alternative to the other social housing schemes operated by the Exchequer. There are currently approximately 77,000 rent supplement recipients for which the Government has provided over €344 million for 2014.

For all counties, major urban population centres were tested to ensure access to housing while also ensuring value for money for the State. The Department used information from tenancies registered with the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB) to analyse actual costs in each county. The purpose of the rent limit review is to ensure availability and not to provide access to housing in all areas. Despite pressures on the social protection budget, there were increases in the rent limits in some areas, including Dublin and Galway, and reductions or no change in others. The limits for Roscommon reflected the respective prevailing rental markets and analysis shows that there are properties available within these limits. I have no plans to introduce revised limits for South Roscommon.

Any further changes to the rent limits would have to be considered in a budgetary context. A full rent limit review will be commenced shortly and will be completed in time to feed into the budgetary process.

The Department continues to monitor trends in the private rental market and officials have considerable experience in dealing with customers of the scheme and continue to make every effort to ensure that their accommodation needs are met.