A guide to your Entitlements 2009  – Housing

 

 homeHOME CHOICE LOAN: From November 2008, First Time Buyers who are in permanent employment for at least 2 years and earn over €40,000 can get a 30 year loan of up to 92% of market value of a new house (max loan €285,000) from Dublin City Council.

SHARED OWNERSHIP: (Equity Loan)If you are on the Housing List or your gross income does not exceed €40,000 one earner, (if two earners, 2.5 times main income plus the second income does not exceed €100,000), you can qualify for the Shared Ownership Scheme, which allows you to buy part of a house (minimum 40%) on a mortgage and the City Council will rent the rest to you. You must have a €3,000 deposit. Legal costs €2,900 (new), €2,400 (2nd hand) can be added to your loan. (Tel. 222 2197).

AFFORDABLE HOUSING SCHEME: You can qualify to buy a house with an Equity Loan under the Affordable Housing Scheme if payments on a suitable house on the open market would be more than 35% of your income (own after tax income plus half of that of your partner). As a guideline, individuals earning up to €55,000 (couples up to €75,000) can qualify for Affordable Houses on private lands but on Council lands the stricter €40,000 test applies. Under the Equity Loan the Council retains a share of the house replacing the old “drawback” rules. The City Council has developed a system for allocation based on priorities and lottery. (Tel. 222 5020).

Under all schemes, the payments you must make are:

  • Mortgage is charged at a variable 5.35% (including mortgage protection) costing €1.31 per week per €1,000 (30 year loans)
  • Rent is set at a fixed 4.3% costing €0.83 per week per €1,000 in the first year and the rent increases by 4.5% per year thereafter.

If your gross household income is under €28,000 you will get a subsidy of €20 per week, under €20,000, €35 per week etc. up to a max of €50 per week. The Council’s share can be bought out at any time at the prevailing market value.

The City Council stress tests applicants ability to pay a 1% higher rate and requires that after you make the weekly housing payment you are left with at least €260 per week for a single person, €360 for a couple, and €25 per week for each child, so this limits the price of house you can consider. The maximum that the City Council will extend is €275,000 under any scheme. You can put in up to €25,000 from savings if you are considering a dearer Affordable House then your loan limit permits.

PRIVATE RENTING: To be eligible for the rent supplement:  A supplement towards rent or mortgage interest and house insurance if after paying these you are left with less than €191.30 (single), €326.90 (married), plus €26.00 for each child. The supplement brings your income back up to this level. You are not eligible if either you or your spouse is working full-time.

  • You must be renting for at least six months unless there is a compelling reason (eg. illness, unemployment, housing need).
  • You must apply to the Council for re-housing and the supplement will cease if you refuse three reasonable offers.

No supplement will be paid where the rent exceeds the ceilings for different family size. In the means test, Family Income Supplement, PRSI, the cost of travelling to work, and the first €75 plus 25% of the balance of other income (e.g. part-time work under 30 hours) are disregarded. The first €95.23 of maintenance payments is assessed, above that, the income disregard applies.

People going back to work (over 30 hours) or Community Employment Schemes will have tapered withdrawal of such a supplement over 4 years (75%, 50%, 25% and 25%) so long as your gross household income (excluding PRSI, travel, Back To Work and FIS) does not exceed €317.50/week.

Under the Rent Accommodation Scheme, Dublin City Council can now enter into long-term contracts with a Private Landlord on behalf of a person who has been on rent supplement for more than 18 months. Differential Rent will be charged {i.e. 15% of after tax income in excess of €32 (single) €64 (couple)}. If you take up work you still get the subsidized rent. If the Landlord withdraws, the council is obliged to secure another tenancy for the family (For details, Tel: 2225440).

Dublin City Council (Tel: 2222635) has now entirely absorbed the Eastern Community Works and is operating the following schemes, but subject to a means-test.

HOUSING AID FOR PENSIONERS: Dublin City Council (Tel: 2222635) has now entirely absorbed the Eastern Community Works and is operating the following schemes, but subject to a means-test.

  • Housing Aid For Older People - a 100% grant of up to €10,500 for structural repairs or improvements, rewiring, windows and doors, heating, water, sanitary services in owner occupied homes.
  • Mobility Aids - a 100% grant of up to €6,000 to address mobility problems, certified by a doctor (e.g. rails, ramps, stair-lifts and level access showers) in owned or private rented homes.
  • Housing Adaptation (Disability) - a 95% grant of up to €30,000 to adapt a home to suit the needs of a person with an enduring disability (e.g. downstairs toilet/showers, wheelchair adaptation, extension etc.) in owned or private rented homes. The works must be certified necessary by a doctor and may require an Occupational Therapist Report. For These Schemes

-  Contractors must have C2 or tax clearance (works over €10,000)

- The full grant applies where the gross income of the property owner and their spouse (even if not the applicant),or of the applicant and their spouse (if renting), is less than €30,000.

- Gross income excludes Child Benefit, FIS or Carers Payments and the earnings of others in the house. For each child up to 18 (23 if in full-time education) and any person receiving full-time care, €5,000 will be disregarded.

- For Housing Aid and Housing Adaptation a reduced rate of grant will apply for those with income over €30,000, dropping on a graduated basis to 30% for income €54,000 – €65,000, but no grant over that.

  • Senior citizens who own their own house may sell it to the Council and seek Council Senior Citizens accommodation. They must give the Corporation one third of the proceeds of the sale (aged 60-70) or less if over 70.
  • A Mobility Allowance of €202.00 per month is payable by the HSE to a person (aged 16-66) who is unable to walk, if their income does not exceed Social Welfare Contributory Pension by more than €12.70 per week.
  • Locks, chain reinforcing, security lighting and “pendant” alarms are now available on a year-round basis from certain Voluntary Agencies such as Northside Homecare Services, Cromcastle Rd. (Tel: 8478410) and Society of St.Vincent de Paul, Griffith Ave. (Tel: 8053667) (with funding from Social Welfare). Friends of the Elderly offer flexible assistance with odd jobs for older people (Tel: 8731855).

WARMER HOMES: Sustainable Energy Ireland fund a Home Insulation scheme for pensioners, incapacitated and those on Fuel Allowance through Energy Action (454 5464) and CHIP (467 0344).

  • Energy Action will insulate attics, draught-proof doors and windows, fit a lagging jacket, smoke alarm and two energy saving light bulbs, fit a mortice lock and spy hole. The service is free to pensioners but their budget is limited and applications have to be prioritised.
  • CHIP will do a full insulation package including insulation of cavity walls but have a minimum charge of €100 for a standard 3-bed house.

GREENER HOMES: Sustainable Energy Ireland (tel. 1805 734 734) provides grants to homeowners of up to €2,500 for the installation of an approved list of renewable energy heating systems (heat pumps, solar or wood pellet systems) fitted by approved installers.