Dwyer criticises differential rents schemes in Wexford
Wexford Sinn Féin County Councillor, John Dwyer, has strongly criticised the Differential Rents Schemes as they presently apply to local authority tenants in County Wexford.
Speaking in Wexford on Tuesday Cllr. Dwyer said:
"Two years ago in February 2003 Sinn Féin Councillors in Wexford, Enniscorthy, New Ross and Gorey put motions to all four Town Councils calling on the local authorities to set a cap to the Differential Rents Schemes in order to determine a limit to the maximum amount of rent payable by local authority tenants. Unfortunately none of the other political parties supported the Sinn Féin motions at that time and so the present system of differential rents remains unreformed.
"Sinn Féin recognise that real and undue hardships have been placed on households under the current scheme whereby there is no set limit to the maximum rent that local authorities can charge their tenants.
"Another important point is that neither is there any uniform standard in the quality of housing provided by the local authority. A considerable number of homes are undeniably sub-standard. However under the present system there is no consideration when assessing rents, of the quality of accommodation provided. Tenants of a 30 - 40 year old, substandard, 3 bedroom house are treated exactly the same as tenants of a brand new 3 bedroom home, despite the vast difference in the quality of the accommodation. Rent payable continues to be assessed at the maximum amount that the local authority considers that it can recover from tenants.
"Local councils are behaving in a manner more akin to a commercial enterprise, seeking to maximise revenue, rather than fulfilling their social function in providing housing for a fair and reasonable rent.
"This commercial approach to local authority housing, while at the same time failing to use monies collected to properly upgrade and improve the current housing stock is an example of the worst form of landlordism.
"The fact that local authorities in Wexford are seriously underfunded by central government should not be an excuse to penalise family homes in order to raise much needed revenue. Sinn Féin have consistently argued that all parties need to agree and to lobby central government to properly fund our local councils so that they can carry out their duties and meet the social needs of our communities." ENDS