FIANNA Fáil councillor Catherine Slattery has questioned Limerick City and County Council on its plans to recruit more staff for its rent section due to backlogs with rent assessments.
This has resulted in people whose circumstances have changed being hit with huge arrears in rent – up to six months or more in some cases.
Council Director of Housing Caroline Curley said that the approved staff complement in the Rents Unit was adequate to deal with the workload arising from the arrears.
She explained that the Covid pandemic had interfered to some extent with the normal workflow on an intermittent basis over the past two years.
“Under the terms of the standard letting agreement signed by tenants, it is their responsibility in the first instance to advise the Council of any variations in income within the household, either up or down, so that their rent can be adjusted accordingly,” Ms Curley pointed out.
“This is clearly explained to them at pre-tenancy induction training. Some tenants appear reluctant to do this, particularly when there can be an upward revision in the rent accruing.
“In such situations, it may well be many months, or even longer, before the Council becomes aware of such a change in circumstances and, furthermore, there can be further delays caused by incomplete or inadequate documentary proof being submitted.
“This can lead in some cases to significant arrears having to be ultimately applied to the account. Individual tenants, or members on their behalf, should contact the rent account manager for their area with any concerns,” Ms Curley concluded.