Limerick rent assessment updates taking as long as two years

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Cllr Catherine Slattery
Cllr Catherine Slattery

DESPITE receiving €17 million in rental income last year, Limerick City and County Council is accumulating arrears because it is taking up two years for its rents department to update rent assessments.

That’s according to Fianna Fáil councillor Catherine Slattery who submitted a question to this week’s metropolitan district meeting asking why rent assessments were taking so long to process.

“When a person updates their financial situation, documentation is sent into the Rents Department to that affect and it can take up to two years for the tenants rent to be updated resulting sometimes in arrears,” she explained.

Housing Support Services executive officer Rob Lowth said that the Rents Unit manages 5,465 accounts, which generated an income of €17m for the Council in 2021.

“It is the responsibility of tenants to immediately advise the Council of any changes within the property, in terms of household composition or income, to enable the rent to be revised, either upwards or downwards, depending on the circumstances.

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“However, not all tenants comply fully with this provision,” Mr Lowth added.

“In 2017, the Rents Unit commenced a major exercise in trying to update household composition and income details for all tenancies. All tenants were written to and this generated a massive amount of correspondence.

“In the majority of cases, where all necessary proofs were submitted, a timely response was forthcoming in terms of any changes accruing to amount of rent payable. However, in instances where necessary supporting documentation was not submitted, it was often the case that the Rents Unit had to pursue this through letters, phone calls and, in some cases, this could be a lengthy process.

“One of the benefits from the exercise is that the majority of tenants are much more conscious of the need to advise the Rents Unit of household changes which may impact on their rent and, as a result, there is a steady stream of rent assessment forms being submitted on a daily basis and every effort is made to process these as promptly as possible.

“It would be very unusual for any case to take up to two years to be finalised. If any member wishes to raise any particular case, with the consent of the tenant, the individual circumstances of the case can be reviewed,” Mr Lowth concluded.