37 tenants have 'paid no rent to council' claim
A POLITICIAN has slammed Dublin City Council for failing to chase down tenants who have made no rent payments in the past 12 months.
"If this was the private sector these people would be before the court," Independent councillor Ruairi McGinley said.
He has been told by the council's chief executive that 37 people in arrears have not made a single payment in the past 12 months.
"These people are on social welfare benefits. They are being asked to pay just 15pc of their income, which is low-level rent," said Mr McGinley, who is annoyed at the delay in pursuing people for the money owed.
"The council needs to be much quicker and much smarter. They have a duty of care to the people who do pay their rent on time," he said, pointing to the number of homeless people around the city and saying some of them could be housed in the units where no rent is being paid.
Mr McGinley said total rental income for the city council is €70m a year, but €20m of that is still owed.
"Nobody is on top of it," he said. "In the private sector they would be demanding the money once the rent was more than two months in arrears."
Mr McGinley wants all abandoned properties to be re-let immediately. He is also concerned that about 30pc of the units in senior citizen complexes are lying empty, and said these too should be used to house the homeless.
"Leaving these units empty is not a good use of scarce resources", he added.
The council said the 37 tenants whose rent has not been paid for more than a year "represents 0.0015pc of let stock".
This compares with 34 tenants in the same situation the previous year.
The council said the majority of these tenants have other social issues that the housing and residential services are trying to resolve.
Some are in hospital, some have died, while others have abandoned their homes, and there are a number of properties "at an advanced stage with the Eviction Office".
In addition, the Allocations Section is pursuing many of the 37 for succession or illegal occupier reasons.
The council said three warning letters are sent followed by a personal visit or phone call before notice is served to quit.