New tenant purchase scheme 'a disaster'

New tenant purchase scheme 'a disaster'
Sam Matthews sam.matthews@kilkennypeople.ie @SamAMatthewsKP

There has been further considerable criticism of the Government's new Incremental Tenant Purchase Scheme, which is designed to allow local authority tenants to buy their house.

A number of local councillors have expressed serious misgivings over the accessibility of the scheme, saying it blatantly excludes a significant number of people who deserve the opportunity to take it up. Not for the first time, the issue was raised at the April meeting of the Kilkenny City Municipal District.

"It is an absolute disgrace," said Cllr Peter 'Chap' Cleere.

"The criteria is so strong. I have ten application forms I delivered to ten families - and only one is eligible. "

Referring to the inelegibity of those living in Part V housing estates, Cllr Cleere said there were families being discriminated because of where they live.

"There are so many people being excluded it is a joke," he said.

"We gave feedback on this and I don't think one change was made. We need to write to the minister and tell him it is not going to work, and seeking that concessions be made.”

Mr Mullally accepted there were problems, and that the Part V issue had 'certainly raised its head' with a number of applications.

"The criteria has caused certain problems for tenants where they thought they would be eligible," he said.

"These concerns have been raised. There was a notice of motion at the previous meeting , and on foot of that we have written to the Department.”

Other councillors also expressed frustrations, saying they spoke to people on a daily basis with clients who weren't eligible.

Cllr Andrew McGuinness, who is chairman of the Strategic Policy Committee on housing, described the new scheme as 'an absolute disaster'.

"I posted about it on Facebook and the reaction and interest I received was huge," he said.

"I sent out 50 forms, and got eight back. Because as soon as people saw the conditions, they knew they weren't eligible.

"Not taking social welfare into consideration rules out a lot of people who want and can afford to purchase their own house."

He asked Mr Mullally how many people had so far applied to the scheme, and how many were eligible.

Mr Mullally told the meeting that the council had received ten applications (then April 22), and that he couldn't comment exactly as they were still going through the criteria, but he would say over half are eligible.

Cllr Patrick McKee said the figure of five eligible applications was an extraordinary figure, and served to highlight the scheme's problems.

Cllr David Fitzgerald said that his understanding was that the scheme was only in place for a number of months. He noted it was the first such scheme to have been put in place for a number of years.