€7.9 million is owed in council tenants arrears

By Aideen O'Flaherty

OVER 60 per cent of council tenants in South Dublin County are in arrears – with over €7.9m being owed to South Dublin County Council.

The amount of rent arrears due to the Council at the end of March 2019 was approximately €7.96m, compared to €7.82m in March 2018.

Bypass Sean Walsh Park

Council tenants’ weekly rent is calculated in accordance with the local authority’s Differential Scheme, which means that tenants pay ten per cent of their household income on rent.

Fianna Fáil councillor for Tallaght Central, Charlie O’Connor, raised the issue of rent arrears of Monday’s monthly meeting of South Dublin County Council.

Cllr O’Connor told The Echo: “All of us have been making the point that rent arrears need to be dealt with, so that money can be used for the provision of services.

“It’s a very significant figure [that is owed].”

He added: “I raised this issue at the meeting because I was aware that it was an issue and I wanted to get the facts around it.

“Strong attention must be paid to this issue – it’s a very large amount of money and it needs to be drawn down.”

South Dublin County Council told The Echo that its rents section has implemented an ‘Action Plan for Arrears by Area’ which will consist of an area-based approach from the council’s housing inspectors.

The inspectors engage with tenants in arrears to establish Debt Management Plans (DMPs), allowing tenants to manage their rent arrears in a sustainable manner, and there are currently 1,224 tenants on active DMPs.

The council advised that if a tenant is having difficulty paying their rent, they should contact the rents section immediately at 01 414 9000 to talk to a staff member about entering into a DMP.

The council also had an Online Rents App, which is available from Google Play Store or Apple Store, that allows all tenants to manage their rent account on their phones, and the app will be upgraded later this month to activate the ‘Pay Now’ facility, allowing tenants to make online payments to their rent account at any time.

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