Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Legal challenge ends overcharging on rural homes

19 July, 2005

Sinn Féin Councillor Joe Reilly has urged all those who purchased their home under the Rural Cottage Scheme to immediately contact their local authority as they may have been overcharged substantially on the purchase of their home.

Councillor Reilly said:

"In recent months I have represented a number of families in Meath regarding the purchase of their homes, which had been built under the Local Authority Rural Cottage Scheme.

"In order to qualify for this scheme, an applicant must provide and legally sign over the site on which the house is to be built to Meath County Council.

"Under the tenants purchase scheme, which allows for tenants to purchase their homes after one year from Meath County Council, the local authority must value the property at market value. The house can then be purchased by the tenant minus the normal financial deductions.

"In the case of the Rural Cottages Scheme Meath County Council insisted that in selling the house to the tenant they could not take into account the fact that the tenant had provided the site free of charge to the Council. Therefore the property had to be offered to the tenant at market value, including the value of the site.

"I challenged this assessment and requested a legal opinion on the local authority's decision to include the market value of a site, that the tenant had provided free to the council, in the overall value of the property.

"The legal opinion confirmed that the Council position was incorrect. They now have to reduce the overall market value of the property by the market value of the site. In one case this has reduced the purchasing cost to the tenant by 80,000 EURO.

"The Rural Cottage Scheme is available in counties across the state so I would urge any person who has purchased a rural cottage under this scheme to check immediately with their local authority to see if the purchase cost of their home incorrectly included the cost of the site."ENDS

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