COMMUNITY Welfare officers in Limerick have been told to show leniency to people who cannot find rental properties which are below the rental cap, which is currently €400 or less for a married couple.
According to Limerick Fianna Fail TD, Willie O’Dea, the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton has been in touch with the regional manager to stress the need for flexibility in relation to rent caps in Limerick.
Deputy O’Dea, who is his party’s spokesman on social protection, insists that the rent caps in Limerick are completely unrealistic and from now on Limerick people should see a change in approach from welfare officers.
“Community Welfare Officers in Limerick must now show flexibility as they do in Dublin already. I represent Limerick city and I am dealing with cases week in and week out. My experience is that no flexibility is being shown in the Limerick area,” he claimed.
At the moment in Limerick, the rent cap for a married couple is €400 per month. There is no place suitable for a married couple in the Limerick city area available for €400 per month.
The cap for a married couple with one child is €500 per month. Deputy O’Dea points out that there is nowhere in Limerick city with accommodation suitable for a married couple and a child available for €500 per month.
“Such accommodation would cost at least €800 per month and if one asks any auctioneer in Limerick, he or she will confirm that. There is a real problem. In some cases, people are paying rent top-ups or under the counter payments which are, strictly speaking, illegal.”
“In future, when for example, a married couple comes into a CWO and say the only place available to them is above the rent cap of €400, it will be up to the CWO to investigate the matter and show flexibility if appropriate,” he explained.