Rent cuts on horizon for low income families, as MPs back reform

Tenants with an income of up to 120% of the social minimum – or some €1,380 for a single adult – will soon be able to apply for a rent cut, now MPs have are in favour of the plan.

The measure is one of several put forward by housing minister Hugo de Jonge and applies to low income households living in housing corporation property.

A large number of opposition MPs also want the plan to cover the private sector. Some 600,000 minimum income households live in housing corporation property and 100,000 have a private landlord.

Opposition parties have called on the minister to extend the plan to the private sector but say they won’t block the current draft legislation if De Jonge does not comply. Private landlords are not covered because of the complexity, and because of the tax implications, officials say.

MPs will vote on the reforms next week.

Earlier this week the Council of State slammed government plans to reform the way housing benefits are calculated for low income households.

The government wants to shift from the current system in which tenants receive extra money based on their actual rent, to one based on their income.

While the plans will mean low income households living in non-rent controlled property will benefit, two-thirds of benefit recipients will get less money after the reforms. The Council of State, which is the government’s highest advisory body, has recommended the legislation should not proceed without a major overhaul.

Currently, a single person living on welfare benefits in a rent-controlled flat costing €750 per month is entitled to around €375 in housing benefit. In the new system, however, that would go down to €282, family spending institute Nibud said last year.

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