Council tenants in rent arrears to appear in court
South Dublin County Council is owed €11.7 million in rent arrears

Council tenants in rent arrears to appear in court

TENANTS with long term housing arrears, are due to appear in court over rents owed to South Dublin County Council, reports Maurice Garvey.

South Dublin County Council, along with the other three Dublin local authorities, has some of the worst collection rates in the country.

A total of €11.7m is currently owed to the local authority. Arrears have increased incrementally since 2016.

Up to 60 per cent of the 9,839 tenants in South Dublin County are in arrears, and 613 tenants are in arrears by more than two years.

A debt management unit was established in 2019, but the council have said Covid restricted it’s ability in 2020/21, and pandemic closures led to court closures and delays for cases to be heard.

Speaking at the recent monthly council meeting, South Dublin County Council chief executive Daniel McLoughlin said: “Hopefully the access to court for the first time in two and a half years will improve our prospects of collecting rents.

“The rent situation from the beginning of the year has stabilised significantly, albeit a modest improvement.”

Cllr David McManus (FG), cited better performing council collection rates in Cork (100 per cent) and Tipperary (97 per cent), and asked the chief executive to “check in” with them.

“The CE could pick up the phone to them, they seem to be doing something right,” said Cllr McManus on Tuesday.

“Sinn Fein said it before about the cost of living, but there is also a cost of living for people in Cork and Tipperary.

“We are not hoping to make a profit, but money is needed.

“With Respond and Cluid, you have to pay by standing order but with South Dublin County Council there is lots of choices.”

At the meeting, Cllr William Carey (SF) “took issue” with Cllrs McManus and Ronan McMahon (Ind), for questioning the arrears.

“I’d like to point out that rents since January, have been collected at a rate of 97 per cent,” said Cllr Carey.

“I don’t think that should go unnoticed. When we discussed this at the OPF, it was pointed out that we are collecting on average, over 102 per cent.”

A Motion tabled at the council meeting by Cllr Brian Lawlor (FG), supporting Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien setting up a working group to examine the possibility deducting rents directly from social welfare payments, failed to be heard.

The Motion will carry over to the May meeting.

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