Limerick council asked to give equal treatment to tenants buying their homes

Limerick City and County Council Director of Housing Caroline Curley.

LIMERICK City and County Council has been asked to give tenants of Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs) the same rights as local authority housing tenants when it comes to buying their rented homes.

A motion to that effect was submitted at last week’s meeting of Limerick City and County Council, proposed by Cllr Bridie Collins (FF) and supported by Cllr John O’Donoghue (IND), Cllr Kevin Sheahan (FF), Cllr Stephen Keary (FG), and Cllr Adam Teskey (FG).

Independent councillor Jerome Scanlan said he fully agreed with the sentiment of the motion and took the view that legislation is needed to give AHB tenants the same rights as Council tenants.

Cllr Sarah Kiely (FG) pointed out that AHB tenants had no succession right for children or family members.

“It is shocking that on one side of Bloodmill Road and Condell Road you have Council properties and on the other side, AHB properties. We need an even playing field for people,” she said.

Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter

“Some people will not accept a property from an AHB because of the terms and conditions. People don’t realise what they are signing up for. Even after years and years of paying rent and the housing market the way it is, there’s no succession rights.”

Cllr Bridie Collins, who proposed the motion, explained that it was tabled not to have a go at AHBs, but to deal with the equity rights of all tenants.

“Everybody’s rights need to be equal,” she declared.

Director of Housing Caroline Curley explained that if an AHB is in receipt of funding under a scheme, they must comply with the terms and conditions of that scheme.

Under such schemes, she said, the AHB is legally required to make the property available for social renting for the duration of the mortgage or leasing agreement.

“Section 45 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009 does provide for the sale by local authorities and AHBs of designated new houses to eligible households and the associated Housing (Incremental Purchase) Regulations 2010,” Ms Curley explained.

“In addition, if a property is owned outright by an AHB, and it is not subject to public funding, the AHB may choose to sell that property once this is allowed under the constitution.”