Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Dublin Corporation Rented Tenancies.

25.

asked the Minister for Local Government if he is aware of the fact that widows in Dublin Corporation flat rented tenancies, whose husbands died some years ago and who in the interim period omitted to apply for a change of tenancy owing to their lack of knowledge of the regulations, are now being required when making application for a change in tenancy to pay differential rents; and if he will take the necessary steps to rectify this matter.

26.

asked the Minister for Local Government if, having regard to the hardship being caused to widows of deceased Dublin Corporation tenants who have their rents substantially increased on their succeedings to their late husbands' tenancies, he will direct that rents be not increased in such cases.

With your permission, a Cheann Comhairle, I propose to take Questions Nos. 25 and 26 together.

I am aware that under proposals recently adopted by Dublin Corporation all changes in tenancy, other than transfers recommended by the Chief Medical Officer on overcrowding grounds, are subject to the new tenant going on to the appropriate differential rent scale. This change to differential renting is to the advantage of persons with low incomes or with dependent children. For others, the rent scheme is framed so that no tenant is asked to pay more than a reasonable proportion of income in rent. In the circumstances, I do not consider that action by me is called for.

Would the Minister indicate from what date the increases apply to the succeeding tenant?

It does not necessarily involve increases at all, but the recent revision of rents scheme came into operation on 17th April, 1967. In the case of the type of person to whom the Deputy refers, there will be decreases rather than increases.

Am I to understand that the people referred to in this question will go on the differential rent scale as from April, and how far back does this apply? Does it mean that every widow who succeeds to a tenancy, right down the years, will be treated in this way?

From what date?

From 17th April, 1967, and it does not involve an increase. In the normal case of a widow succeeding, it involves a decrease.

Whether it involves an increase or not can be thrashed out afterwards. Am I to understand that in regard to any widow who succeeds to a tenancy, on the death of her husband, as from April, she will be put on a differential rent, but any widow whose husband died before April will not be put on a differential rent?

Unless she applies.

In other words, she will not be?

If she applies, she will.

If she applies for a tenancy, she will be put on the differential rent? Is that true?

Would the Minister agree that if people in this category apply for an SDA loan, they will be refused because of their inability to repay, and yet the local authorities are asking them to pay rents as high as these?

Reduced rents: the rents are based——

The rents are not based on a lower scale and well the Minister knows it. They are penal rents.

Nobody will be asked to pay more than he or she can afford to pay. The whole objection is that this is a scheme to enable people who are unable to pay——

That is what it is supposed to be, but that is not the way it is turning out.

What Deputy Harte and the Deputies of the Labour Party apparently object to is that people who can afford to pay are asked to pay an economic rent to enable people unable to pay to be housed.

This is the greatest scandal, and the Minister is covering it up because of the elections.

Am I to understand that widows of ten years, five years or three years who only now apply for succession of tenancy will have a differential rent applied to them?

Yes, they will have the benefit of going on to the differential rent scheme.

And if they do not——

The Deputy ought to wait for an answer when he asks a question.

If they do not want to go on that, will they be left as they are?

(Interruptions.)

The Taoiseach does not have to instruct the Minister.

Deputies will not let the answer be given.

Will the Minister——

The Deputy will resume his seat. I am calling No. 27.

It is a great pity the Minister for Local Government is getting the assistance of the Chair to cover up a disgraceful situation.

It is most regrettable.

Every excuse is made for increasing the rents.

The Minister's action needs defending.

As a result of my action, the revised rents scheme is more favourable than that put forward by the Labour Party.

(Interruptions.)

In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the Minister's reply, I give notice that I propose to raise this matter on the Adjournment.