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Minister Burton introduces revised Maximum Rent Limits for Rent Supplement

The Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton T.D., has today (5 June 2013) announced her intention to implement revised rent limits under the Rent Supplement scheme. These new rent limits will come into force on Monday 17 June 2013 and will be in place until 31 December 2014.

The purpose of the Rent Limit Review is to establish new maximum rent limits from June 2013 which are in line with the most up-to-date market data available. This review continues the previous rent limit reviews’ emphasis, to ensure that value for money is achieved while at the same time ensuring that people on Rent Supplement are not priced out of the market for private rented accommodation.

The Department has completed a full review of rental costs throughout the country using data received from the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB) of actual rental tenancies registered with them. The Department has also used publicly available data sources including the Central Statistics Office rental indices, the Rental Report and websites advertising rental properties to ascertain both the market trends and the current asking prices for rental of one, two and three-bedroom properties.

Due to the increase in the overall volume of persons renting property, the market share for Rent Supplement has fallen from 40% to approximately 30%. This review sets Rent Supplement maximum rates generally at the 35th percentile of availability – ie, to ensure that 35% of the relevant market is suitably priced for Rent Supplement recipients. This will ensure sufficient housing stock is available for those on Rent Supplement. It is expected that the cost of this measure will be €7 million in 2013.

The new rent limits show increases in Dublin and Galway in line with trends in these rental markets. These increases will benefit Rent Supplement tenants due to increased availability of property within the rent limits. There have been reductions in rent limits in rural counties reflecting conditions in these rental markets.

Minister Burton said: “I am aware that the rental market has changed since new rent limits were last introduced in January 2012. The revised limits reflect the current market conditions and will increase in a number of urban locations. These increases will help customers sourcing accommodation in these areas within the prescribed limits. It is also my intention to introduce revised limits in the commuter areas of North Kildare and Bray which will alleviate the pressures experienced by customers in these locations, as indicated by the findings of the review. I am pleased to say that the revised limits will be implemented from June rather than July as had previously been indicated at a cost of some €7 million for the remainder of this year. This will be met from within the Department’s existing budget for the year.”

Information note:

· There are approximately 86,000 Rent Supplement recipients for which some €403 million is allocated for the Rent Supplement scheme in 2013.

· Rent Supplement provides short-term income support to eligible people living in private rented accommodation, whose means are insufficient to meet their accommodation costs and who do not have accommodation available to them from any other source.

· Rent Supplement is subject to a limit on the amount of rent that an applicant may incur. Limits are set at levels that enable eligible households to secure and retain basic suitable rented accommodation, having regard to the different rental market conditions that prevail in various parts of the State.

· It is estimated that the additional cost of the revised limits at the 35th percentile will not exceed €7 million during the remainder of 2013. This will be met within the Department’s existing budget for the scheme of €403 million.

· The necessary regulations to give effect to the revised limits will be finalised within the coming week, and the full report of the Rent Limit Review will be published at that time.