Social Housing is broadly defined as accommodation provided by a local authority or approved non-profit housing body for persons who are unable to provide accommodation for their own resources. This includes the provision of housing for eligible low-income families, the elderly, persons with disabilities, homeless persons and young people leaving institutional care with no family accommodation.
This scheme is for those who are in need of housing and cannot afford it from their resources. In assessing your application, the Local Authority will consider such factors as household size, household income, your present accommodation (if any), the condition of that accommodation, and any special circumstances including age, disability, medical circumstances etc. Houses are allocated to applicants in order of priority, taking all circumstances into account.
In addition, a HMD Form 1 – Disability and or Medical Information Form must be completed for anyone who is applying for social housing or a social housing transfer due to a disability or medical grounds. The information provided will be used to assess if priority status should be awarded to an application.
Notes on completing the APPLICATION FORM
All sections of the application should be completed by you. If a section does not apply to your circumstances, please state so. Any information omitted by you may affect your application.
APPLICATION: In the case of married couples or other joint applicants details for both should be included in Section.
OCCUPATION: State if employed (position held, e.g. driver, etc): Unemployed, Student, Or Other (Specify).
INCOME: The determination of whether an applicant household meets the income criteria will be based on a calculation of their preceding 12 months ‘net average income’ prior to the date of receipt of the application. Please ensure that you read the checklist for applicants carefully on the application form to ensure that you submit all relevant documentation required for income in order to access your application.
HEALTH: If you are seeking housing on medical grounds, Medical Form HMD Form 1 above must be submitted. If no form is submitted, your claim will be disregarded.
In the case of Demountable Dwellings and Single Rural Dwellings, the site must be provided by the applicant.
If assistance is required in completing the application form, please do not hesitate to request assistance from the Housing Department.This form should be returned to Laois County Council, Housing Department, Áras an Chontae, Portlaoise, Co. Laois. R32 EHP9
Where do I apply? Application forms are available at the link above or from the Housing Department, Laois County Council, Áras an Chontae, Portlaoise, Co. Laois. R32 EHP9
What happens when I apply? When applications are received all applications are processed to ensure that all relevant information is correct. Once a valid application is submitted, an assessment is carried out by the Social Worker in Laois County Council.
Do I qualify for housing ? If you are in need of housing and are unable to provide it from your own resources you may apply for local authority housing. In assessing your application the local authority take into account factors such as local connection to the area, household size, household income, present accommodation (if any), the condition of that accommodation and any special circumstances including age, disability, medical circumstances, etc.
What happens if I qualify? You are placed on the Council’s waiting list and, and you will be housed in accordance with the Council’s Housing Allocation Scheme.
What if I don’t qualify ? The Council will inform you and explain the reasons for their decision. The decision can be appealed to the appropriate Director of Services.
What happens if I am Homeless? If you are homeless you present to the offices of Laois County Council and your application will be processed. Out of Hours Homeless Service
How long will it take before I get offered a house? Unfortunately this cannot be determined. This depends on the areas the applicant has opted for and the availability of dwellings in that area
What happens if Laois County Council offer me a dwelling I don’t want ? In accordance with the Housing Allocations Scheme, refusals of two reasonable offers of social housing over a twelve month period will result in a household being deemed to have forfeited their place on the waiting list for a period of twelve months. This will mean the household will not be offered social housing support for the suspension period and time will not be added on during this period ‘time on list’ or any other priority determining purposes.
For more information, please see our Housing Allocation Scheme -adopted by Council on 30 May 2011.
RENT SCHEME 2008
This Scheme will apply with effect from 18th October 2008. It will supercede the existing Rent Scheme and may be subject to review.
Rents will be calculated as a percentage of assessable Principal Income together with a contribution from any subsidiary income in the household.
The principal income will be that of the household member with the highest assessable income. Assessable income of the principal earner is income from the following sources, assessed in full but reduced by pay related social insurance contributions and any income tax payable on such income:-
(a) Income from employment including self-employment. Income of an employed person is, in general, the normal weekly rate of remuneration as defined in Section 1 of the Holidays (Employees) Act, 1973, except that overtime is excluded. All other regular payments in the nature of pay are included. Actual income from self-employment should be forwarded by the recipient in the form of Income & Expenditure/Audited Accounts.
(b) All social insurance and social assistance payments, allowances and pensions, health board allowances and FAS training allowances.
Income under the Social Welfare code will be regarded as being not less than the minimum entitlements.
(c) Income from pensions not already included at (b) above.
Tenant/occupiers who are in receipt of either voluntary or court ordered maintenance will have the full amount assessed. Where a tenant/occupier is paying maintenance under a court order, the amount ordered will be deducted.
Income from the following sources is disregarded:
(a) Child Benefit.
(b) Orphan’s allowances or orphan’s pensions
(c) Scholarships, education grants.
(d) Allowances payable for Fostering of Children.
(e) Allowances for domiciliary care of disabled children
(f) Lump sum compensation payments
(g) Community Employment Programme. When a person’s income increases as a result of participation in the Community Employment Programme, the rent of that person shall be, following the submission of a certificate from the sponsor, assessed at the appropriate rate of Social Welfare benefit.
(h) Back to Work Allowance Scheme. The rent of any person who is certified by the DSFA as participating in a Back to Work Allowance Scheme shall not be increased solely as a result of such participation for a period of three years from the date of certification for persons receiving Back to Work Allowance (employees) and four years for persons receiving Back to Work Enterprise Allowance (Self-employed), as long as the combined income from the Back to Work Scheme and employment/self-employment does not exceed €317.40. This income limit will not apply for the first year of the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance.
(i) Extra Allowance for people aged 80 or over payable under certain categories of Social Welfare income.
(j) Heating/Fuel Allowance
(k) Living Alone Allowance
Note: Family Income Supplement
Persons qualifying for family income supplement will be regarded as in receipt of income from that source.
Calculation of Rent
The rents of dwellings let on differential rent will be determined on the basis of the following:
• 22% of the principal assessable income which exceeds €70
• 22% of any subsidiary assessable income which exceeds €70.
The subsidiary income contribution shall be subject to a maximum contribution of €16.00.
The amount of rent calculated in this way should not exceed the maximum rent referred to below or be less than the minimum rent set out below.
Allowances for Dependent Adults
Prior to calculation of rent, an allowance is also made for dependent adults in the household in the amount of €20.
Allowance for Dependent Children
Prior to calculation of rent an allowance is also made for dependent children in the amount of €10.00 per week for each child of 16 years or under or who being under 21 years is attending a full-time course of education and wholly or mainly maintained by the Tenant(s).
Capping of Rent Increases
Rent increases will be subject to a maximum increase of €4.50 per week, where the circumstances of the household have not changed, subject to the rounding up Clause below. This capping will not apply in instances where a material change in circumstances/household income has arisen.
The following maximum rents will apply under the Scheme:
3-beds or more €93.00
The following minimum rents will apply under the Scheme:
Standard Houses €24.00
Maisonette/apartment (2-bed) €21.50
Maisonette/apartment (1-bed) €20.00
Demountables: A fixed charge (if demanded) will be applied to demountable dwellings at €10 per week
Changes in Circumstances
A tenant must notify Laois County Council immediately of any change in income or in family circumstances other than the general increases in wages or social welfare.
In exceptional circumstances where payment of a rent calculated as outlined above would, in the opinion of the Council, give rise to hardship, the Council may, at its discretion, agree to accept a lesser sum from a tenant for a specified period.
Rounding up and down
Where the rent assessed under this Scheme is not a multiple of 50 cent, it will be rounded up or down to the nearest 50 cent.
Where tenants fail to return a rent assessment form, these tenants will be charged the maximum rent.
Rents – Frequently Asked Questions
How do I pay my rent?
There are five (5) ways to pay your rent:
1) Household budget scheme: All Persons on Social Welfare paid through the Post Office can have their rent deducted through household budget deductions.
2) Standing orders. Please contact 057 867 4348 or firstname.lastname@example.org to request a form.
3) Cash Office in County Hall.
4) Cheques, postal orders, money orders (no cash) through the postal system sent directly to the Cash Office
5) Through your local Revenue Collector
What if you have a change in circumstances?
If your income changes in any way, e.g. commenced/ended employment, social welfare payment increased/decreased, FIS payment, new baby, you must fill in a Rent Assessment Form . Please contact 057 867 4348 or email@example.com to request a form.
What if I fall into arrears?
If you fall into arrears, you can contact the Rents Section in the Housing Department and make an agreement to pay your rent plus a small amount extra every week to reduce the arrears. Please contact 057 866 4140 or 057 866 4230 if you wish to discuss the arrears on your account.
What if I want someone to move in with me?
Before they move in, the named tenants on the tenancy agreement, plus the person who wants to move in must call in and fill in a Permission to Reside Application Form. This is then sent to the Senior Social Worker who approves/rejects the application.
What if someone leaves the house?
If someone leaves the house, this is a change in circumstances and a rent assessment form must be filled in and your rent reviewed. Please contact 057 867 4348 or firstname.lastname@example.org to request a form.
What if I want my partner on the Tenancy Agreement?
Firstly, they need permission to reside at the premises. They will then be assessed for rent for one year. A letter must be received in the Rents Section in the Housing Department stating you want your partner on the Tenancy Agreement . If approved an appointment is made, a new Tenancy Agreement is drawn up, signed and sealed.
What if I want to leave my house?
A letter must be received into the Housing Department giving four (4) weeks notice in writing stating that you are leaving the property. On the appointed day, a Clerk of Works inspects the property. The property must be left in a clean and proper state. The customer then comes into County Hall at the appointed time and signs a “Surrender of Tenancy” form. This means that the customer then has no rights to access the property anymore.
What if I want a transfer?
A tenant of the Council may, with the consent of the Council, exchange the tenancy of his/her existing dwelling for the tenancy of another Council dwelling under the following conditions:
- All rents and other charges due and payable in respect of their existing accommodation have been fully discharged.
- The tenants have complied with all the conditions of the Letting Agreement.
- In the opinion of the Council, the exchange must result in either tenant being appropriately accommodated
- The tenants must not have engaged in any anti-social behaviour in the previous three years.
- The tenants must have resided in their current dwelling for at least five years.
The Council may, in exceptional circumstances, waive compliance with any or all of the above conditions. The Council reserves the right to refuse any transfer request due to financial constraints.