Further details on RAS
What Will Change?
At present the rent supplement applicant sources a private rented property and applies to the local Community Welfare Officer for Supplementary Welfare Allowance (SWA) Rent Supplement. If the application is successful, the Community Welfare Officer makes a monthly payment towards the rent. The Tenant adds a rent contribution and pays the landlord directly.
RAS will be administered by Kerry County Council, on behalf of the four Kerry Local Authorities – who will negotiate an “availability contract” with the landlord under which the local authority will guarantee a monthly electronic payment, payable in advance, to the landlord for the period of the contract.
The rent paid by the local authority will be the full, agreed rent for the property. Depending on the type of Contract, the landlord will not have to collect rent or fill vacancies and the local authority will pay the full rent even if the property is vacant.
What Contractual Arrangements will exist between the Landlord and the Local Authority?
Model agreements have been developed for use with the scheme and will form the basis for contract negotiation between the landlord and the local authority. A number of forms of contractual arrangements between landlords/developers, local authorities and tenants may exist under the RAS. In the main these will fall broadly into three types of arrangement:
• Tenancy by Tenancy arrangements: The local authority guarantees rent payment only for the term that a specified tenancy is in existence. In this case the local authority does not have nomination rights to the property.
• Availability type arrangements: The local authority secures medium to long-term availability of the accommodation (with the local authority having nomination rights to the property ).
• Long-term PPP/Part V type arrangements between developers and local authorities to secure long-term availability of accommodation.
Standard forms of contract form the contractual basis for arrangements between landlords, tenants and local authorities. The form of contract entered into will set out the general responsibilities of the three parties. Within certain parameters local authorities will be able to negotiate the particular conditions under which accommodation providers make their properties available for the RAS. Local authorities will provide prospective RAS landlords with further information in relation to the form of the contractual arrangement it will be seeking to enter into.
Landlord & Tenant Relationship and Responsibilities of Landlord.
Legally the landlord and tenant relationship will remain between those parties. The local authority will act as broker or agent on behalf of the tenant. The Residential Tenancies Act 2004 will govern the relationship between the landlord and the tenant.
The landlord will retain responsibility for:
1. Insurances – property, contents and public liability;
2. Routine Maintenance/Repair and replacement of equipment; and
3. Dealing with anti-social behaviour and any other breeches of the tenancy agreement including non-payment of rent to the local authority should they arise.
Rent levels will be determined by negotiation between the landlord and the local authority and will reflect local market conditions. The rent may not exceed the current SWA rent supplement rent level in the area for each type of household (single parents, family households of various size etc.).
The local authority may seek a reduction in the current rent level (depending on current market rates rents in the Area) in return for:
1. The landlord not having to collect rents for the duration of the RAS contract;
2. The landlord not having to fill vacancies (advertise and interview prospective tenants) for the duration of the RAS contract;
3. The fact that the average yield across the private rented sector is less than a full year’s rent due to vacancies/tenant turnover;
4. The very bankable asset that a guaranteed RAS rent payment represents;
5. Guaranteed prompt payment, in advance, by a State agency.
Deposits and Damage to Property.
For additional properties acquired for RAS, no deposits will be paid by the tenants as a contractual arrangement will exist between the landlord and the local authority. However, where damage is caused to property which is above routine wear and tear, the housing authority may be willing to guarantee the equivalent of up to one month’s rent towards the cost of repair/replacement. The details of this will be the subject of negotiation.
When will the scheme commence and how is it planned to roll it out ?
RAS commenced in Kerry in 2006 and it continues to be rolled out throughout the County. There are approximately 1,000 SWA rent supplement tenants living in private rented accommodation in Kerry who are deemed to have a long term housing need and are eligible for RAS. These will all be transferred on a phased basis to RAS or local authority housing.
To participate in RAS landlords must:
• Be Tax compliant;• Be registered, or agree to register the tenancy with the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB)
• The property must meet minimum standards including fire standards for private rental accommodation as determined by the local authority.
Tenants must have been in receipt of SWA rent supplement for a minimum of 18 months and be deemed by the relevant local authority to have a long term housing need. Non-nationals must have a “right to remain” in the State. Students are not eligible for RAS.
How to become involved in RAS.
Initially only landlords with eligible SWA rent supplement tenants will be approached and invited to participate in RAS (see Eligibility Section above). All existing eligible SWA rent supplement tenants will be transferred to RAS, whether their landlords opt into RAS or not. Where their existing landlords do not wish to participate in RAS, alternative properties will be secured.
If you have a property in Kerry which is currently rented to a SWA rent supplement recipient and you are interested in participating in RAS, you do not have to take any action – you will be contacted in due course.
If you do not currently have a SWA rent supplement tenant but are interested in participating in RAS, please send your contact details and those of your property—(address, no of bedrooms/bedspaces etc.) to the RAS unit in Kerry County Council and you will be placed on a database and contacted as a need for your property is identified.
Phone: 066-7183855 / 7183806
Fax: 066 7161803
E-mail Address: [email protected]
Applications (066) 7183862
Grants (066) 7183839
Housing Rents (066) 7183647
Repairs (066) 7183645
Rental Accommodation (066) 7183855
F. (066) 7161803
Email: [email protected]