Housing Schemes and Home Energy Grants
Local Authority Housing: City, County and Town Councils are the main providers of social housing for people who need housing and cannot afford to buy their own homes. Local authority housing is allocated according to housing need, and rents are based on your ability to pay. Housing associations and housing co-operatives also provide social housing for people who cannot afford to buy their own homes.
When you apply, the Council will take into account a number of things such as household size, income, present housing and any special circumstances, including age, disability, medical circumstances, etc. You can apply to more than one local authority, for example, you might register with a county council and town council in that area. Some local authorities impose an income limit on applicants. Someone from the local authority may visit you to assess your housing situation.
If you are accepted by the Council as being in need of housing, you are then placed on the Council housing waiting list. You can get a copy of the list from your local authority. Some Councils operate a points system. Each household on the waiting list is given a number of points depending on its circumstances.
You may be able to specify areas where you would like to live, but you should remember that if you choose a popular area, you may wait longer for a housing offer.
If you are offered a house you do not want, you can refuse it, but if the local authority thinks that you do not have a good reason for refusing the house, it may reduce your priority on the waiting list.
Rent Supplement: If you are living in rented accommodation, are not working more than 30 hours per week or are in receipt of a social welfare payment you can apply for rent supplement from your local Community Welfare Officer. To qualify you must have been living in your rental home for at least 6 months and have been assessed by to Council be in need of housing. You will not receive rent supplement if your rental payments are above the limit for your family size. For more information on the rent supplement scheme please see: http://www.citizensinformation.ie/categories/social-welfare/social-welfare-payments/supplementary-welfare-schemes/rent_supplement
Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS): If you have been receiving rent supplement for more than 18 months you may qualify for the RAS whereby the Council enter into a long term rental agreement with your private landlord. The Council will pay the full rental charge directly to the landlord. You then pay your part of the rent directly to the Council.
Mortgage Interest Supplement provides short term support to help you pay the interest portion of your mortgage repayments. You can apply if you are no longer able to meet your mortgage payment due to redundancy, illness etc. You will not get help with the portion o f the mortgage that pays off the actual loan and house insurance. You must apply to your local Community Welfare Officer. Further information can be found at: http://www.citizensinformation.ie/categories/social-welfare/social-welfare-payments/supplementary-welfare-schemes/mortgage_interest_supplement
Home Purchase Loan: A first time buyer whose gross income does not exceed €50,000 (one earner) €75,000 (two earners) can qualify for a loan of up to 97% of the market value of a house (max loan €220,000). You must have been working continuously for at least two years prior to applying, and have a deposit of at least €6,600. Mortgage is charged at a variable €2.81% (including mortgage protection) costing €0.88 per €1,000 (30 year loan)
Shared Ownership: is still available if your income is within the above levels, but with payment on the rented portion only 5% cheaper than an equivalent mortgage, this schemes main attraction is a lower deposit requirement of €3,000 and a higher funding level up to a maximum of €275,000.
The Affordable Housing scheme is still in operation but there are not many offers available (see www.affordablehome.ie) and they are not much cheaper than the open market.
In all three cases, the Council applies an affordability test that requires that payments on the house do not exceed 35% of your after tax income and also do credit checks.
Home Energy Grants
Sustainable Energy Ireland (tel: 1850 376 666) offer a number of home insulation and heating schemes. Information on these schemes can be found at http://www.seai.ie
Warmer Homes: Sustainable Energy Ireland fund a Home Insulation scheme for pensioners, Fuel Allowance recipients and other people on low-incomes living in privately owned homes. Funding is provided to insulate attics, draught-proof doors and windows, fit lagging jackets, smoke alarms, energy saving light bulbs, fit mortice locks and spy holes. Provided at a low cost (typically €100) to householders but the budget for this is limited. Further information on the Warmer Homes scheme can be found at www.seai.ie/warmerhomes or by telephoning 1800 250 204
Home Energy Saving Scheme: provides grants to homeowners to improve the energy efficiency of their home, reduce energy use, greenhouse gas emissions and energy costs.
Grants normally cover 20–30% of the full cost. Up to 50% energy savings are possible.
Scheme is open to owners of houses built before 2006 for the following works:
Roof Insulation €250
Cavity wall insulation: €400, Internal Dry-Lining: €2,500, External wall insulation: €4,000
Upgrades: Heating Control €500, Heating Control and High Efficiency Gas/Oil Boiler €700
BER Assessment A Before works and an After works BER assessment €200
Further information and application forms for the Home Energy Saving Scheme can be found at: http://www.seai.ie/Grants/Home_Energy_Saving_Scheme/
Greener Homes: Sustainable Energy Ireland provides grants to homeowners to install approved renewable energy heating systems (heat pumps, solar heating, wood pellet systems, wood gasification boiler) fitted by approved installers.
Solar Thermal Space and or Hot water heat (Evacuated Tube): €300 per m2(to max.6m2 )
Solar Thermal Space and or Hot water heating (Flat Plate): €250 per m2(to max.6m2 )
Heat Pump Ground collectors: Horizontal: €2,500 or Vertical €3,500
Heat Pump: Water (well) to water €2,500 or Air source €2,000
Stoves: Wood Chip/Pellet €800 or Biomass / Wood Chip/ Pellet with integral boiler €1,400
Boilers: Wood Child/Pellet €2,500 or Wood Gasification €2,000
Further information and application forms for the Greener Homes scheme can be found at: http://www.seai.ie/Grants/GreenerHomes/ or be telephoning 1805 734 734