The majority of Kerry County Council tenants are deemed ineligible to purchase their homes under the Tenant Purchase Scheme, it has emerged.
Director of Services John Breen has told a special housing meeting that 80pc of local authority tenants are excluded from the scheme because their sole income is from social welfare.
The high number of tenants excluded has drawn widespread criticism from elected members. The Tenant Purchase Scheme is operated under the 2014 Housing Act and requires that eligible people have been local authority tenants for at least one year. It also requires that buyers have an income of at least €15,000 to qualify for a mortgage but this cannot be from social welfare payments including children’s allowance, and carers’ benefit and allowance. Anyone who has been in rent arrears for the previous three years is also deemed ineligible for the scheme. A person, whom the council considers has engaged in anti-social behaviour, will not be considered eligible. There was widespread criticism from members about the numbers excluded. Sinn Féin’s Toireasa Ferris says it’s ‘beyond belief’ that most of Kerry County Council’s tenants didn’t qualify. Cllr Michael Gleeson of the South Kerry Independence Alliance said it made no sense that 80pc of tenants were excluded from buying their homes.