Cllr William Carey has said that the proposal by South Dublin County Council (SDCC) to increase the rent per income ratio is a “retrograde step in the battle against poverty”. It represents an attempt to portray hard working and multiple income households, as being, high earners when in fact these households are often families with both parents working and may include an adult child working and still living at home. Cllr Carey was speaking after releasing a statement saying he would be opposing the measures contained within this year’s budget for SDCC. In an email to all councillors from Colm Ward Head of Housing in SDCC are proposing to add an additional 10% rent increase on those earning over the entry thresholds of tenants. Whilst this increase will affect 460 (5%) of tenancies immediately there is no doubt that all tenants will be subject to an increase in the future.
The local Clondalkin rep added “contended that the average earnings of those affected by the increase was €23,285pa”. Cllr Carey stated the proposal offered a misconception on the income levels within homes and that the figures usually are made up of multiple earners in a family on average industrial wages. “These households are already paying rent based upon their total household income”. Cllr Carey further stated that “when you delve down into the figures it can mean as much as a 30% increase in rent for some families.
The proposal by South Dublin County Council to raise the basic premise on how rents are calculated is regrettable and is clearly an attempt to raise the overall percentage ceiling of rents across the whole of all tenancies. This is an obvious attempt to gradually raise the percentage levels of rent across the board and contradicts a long standing acceptance of a 10% level of rent to income ratio and has been a reasonable and fair way of assessing the cost of renting by local authorities. In recent years we have seen a drive within the private sector to continue to force rents upwards and indeed proposals as indicated by government proposals have been for affordable rental properties leaning towards figures of 30% of income for individuals and families on reasonable levels of income.
This proposal claims to justify the increase by couching it against the qualification levels of income of people seeking to be housed by local authorities. The qualification figures at present are drastically low, with couples on mediocre levels of income struggling to even get on to the housing register. Currently, many working people on reasonable incomes fail to qualify for the housing list forcing them into an unscrupulous private rental market that operates on an exploitative and predatory basis. The proposal here is to increase rents on income over the initial qualification figures by 10%, which is in fact a doubling of the rate they pay on their income above the threshold. Averaging out as a 6% increase in rents. The manner in which this proposal is being couched tries to suggest that these families are somehow not paying a fair share of their income and somehow receiving an additional subsidy to their housing needs. This could not be further from the reality for these families.
The table below is based upon SDCC figures and I believe it shows a more complete breakdown of incomes per person involved in this exercise. Clearly these incomes are of a very average level which nobody could regard as being in the area of high earners. All these adults currently pay a rate of 10% of their income towards rent.
|income||Households||No adults||No children||House income||Av. Income pp|