“Tipperary County Council are abusing the MABS system, it lacks integrity, it lacks dignity, and lacks respect for the service, and most of all it lacks respect for the hundreds of people effected”. This was a damning inditement which was laid at the door of Tipperary County Council by Cllr Seamie Morris.
Tipperary County Council has taken an unprecedented approach of applying instantaneous rent hikes on families living in social housing across Tipperary. The move has outraged both residents, and local representatives who feel the move is a callous act of money grabbing without prior consultation or warning for residents. Some families are facing rent increases of upwards of 90% per week, leaving their very future in the balance as they fight to be able to afford their home.
How has this happened? Tipperary County Council has brought forward, and implemented a proposal to equalise the council rates paid by every person in council housing in Tipperary.
Shockingly, this rent increase has been applied to numerous residents who have yet to be informed. While local authority housing is exempt from the 4% rent hikes cap which are in place in the private sector, imposing instant increases by up to €400 per month displays blatant disregard for the welfare of residents of Tipperary.
When informed of the serious impact this is having on families, rather than acknowledge the issue is caused by Tipperary County Council, they are instead sending residents to MABS. MABS is a money advice service for people who need to restructure their finances and who are in financial difficulty, not as a means of finding money which people don’t have.
The instant rent increase by Tipperary County Council is also out of line with a similar initiative introduced for business, where increases were brought in over a 4 year phased scheme.
Questions must be asked of the council in this regard, and a Freedom of Information request has been submitted by Cllr. Seamie Morris. The clarifications requested are:
- What clarification was sought and received that supports the councils statement that the Making of a differential rents scheme is an executive function and that the part of the act that relates to this in the Local Government Reform Act 2014 was not passed?
- How many of the over 8000 tenants now have weekly rent increases of between
- 0 and 10 euros
- 10 and 20 euros
- 30 and 40 euros
- 40 and 50 euros
- Over 50 euros
- How many have rent decreases and how many of these people people were informed of the rent increases and decreases within the 3 or 4 week notice?
- What is the process for hardship cases and how many people have applied for hardship cases and how many were successful and the average level of rent decrease allowed for the successful applicants?