Dublin City Council to evict first social housing tenant

Rachel Power

Dublin City Council is to evict their first tenant this month, as a result of unpaid rent contributing to a rise in council debt.

Almost €33 million is owed to the council in unpaid rent from its tenants which is the highest sum of money that an authority in Ireland has been left unpaid for.

As a result of the high debt that the council face, tenants will have an increase of €160 in their rent prices annually.

Focus Ireland and St Vincent De Paul were contacted to discuss the effect that this increase will have on homelessness figures across the country, but have yet to make a comment.

Fine Gael councillor Danny Byrne said that “it is completely unfair to charge extra rent to people who are paying while others do not pay.”

“All the increases proposed in the budget – toll charges, parking charges, rent increases – none of these would be necessary if the council were competent in collecting rents,” he continued.

In the space of ten years, the council is owed €13.3 million more in rent payments compared to 2009 figures.

Dublin City Council stated that a lack of “relevant court rules” meant that the council were not authorised to evict tenants. Applications for repossession from the council could not be made until June 2017.

The council has now made four applications of repossession, two of which have fully paid back their debt, one is making payments on a weekly basis and the fourth refuses to repay and is now in the process of eviction.

The council said that “it is always a last resort to evict,” but that this “level of non-payment in some cases will leave no other alternative.”

Over 12,000 of the council’s tenants are behind on their rent payments, with 20% lagging by six months or more.

The council expects extra insurance costs will rise to €11.6 million on roughly 25 Irish Water-owned properties, further adding to their costs.

Increases of 36 per cent to the East Link Toll price as well as a 1.5 per cent increase in business rates were up for budget approval among councillors on Monday night, but decisions have yet to be made.

Councillors have until the end of the month to reach an agreement on this budget or else they can be dissolved by the Minister for Housing.

Author: Rachel Power

Image Credit: Flickr