O’Rourke calls for reform of Tenant Purchase Scheme

Local Fianna Fáil councillor, Aengus O'Rourke, has called on Minister for Housing, Simon Coveney, to re-examine aspects of the Tenant Purchase Scheme.

Cllr O'Rourke made the call at March's meeting of the Athlone Municipal District.

The Tenant Purchase Scheme allows people living in a council house to buy the property from the council and avail of certain discounts based on the amount of time they have lived there.

In January, 2016, the Government introduced a revised Tenant Purchase Scheme which Cllr O'Rourke says effectively excludes people on social welfare from applying.

"It states that applicants must have an annual income of at least €15,000," Cllr O'Rourke said. "Social welfare recipients and retired people are therefore excluded. Ironically, applicants could have hundreds of thousands in the bank or even be a Lotto millionaire and still be excluded from the scheme because the criteria state you must 'earn' €15,000 per year.

"Old age pensioners who have worked all their lives and received their redundancy payments are being told by the local authority that they cannot purchase their houses under the new tenant purchase scheme. This needs to change."

"The exclusion of Part V properties from the scheme may also discriminate against tenants allocated such dwellings, and this is discrimination against people on social welfare who want to buy their houses. So this is another aspect of the scheme that needs to change," he added.

It was resolved to write to Minister Coveney on the issue.

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