Housing Changes – Budget 2010

December 21st, 2009 - Pat Breen


• 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) from Clare County Council. You must be working continuously for at least two years, and have a deposit of at least €6,600. (Tel: 065 6821616)

• Mortgage is charged at a variable €2.81% (including mortgage protection) costing €0.88 per €1,000 (30 year loan)

SHARED OWNERSHIP is still an option for this income group, but with payment on the rented portion only 5% cheaper than an equivalent mortgage, its only attraction is lower deposit (€3,000) and a higher funding level (max €275,000)

AFFORDABLE HOUSING SCHEME is still in operation but there are not many offers available (posted on 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. If your gross household income is under €28,000 you will get a subsidy of €20 per week under €20,000; (€35 per week under € ,000 ), Delete this section in brackets etc. up to a maximum of €50.

• HOME CHOICE LOAN: Persons on income over €40,000 can apply to the County council for a loan, if a broker shows that they have refused by two lending agencies, of up to 92% of the market value of a NEW house (max loan €285,000) at a variable rate of 3.35%

If neither partner is working over 30 hours per week, a supplement towards rent or mortgage interest is payable, if, after paying
these, you are left with less than €172 (single), €302.10 (married), plus €29.80 for each child. The supplement brings your
income back up to this level. You are not eligible if either you or your spouse is working full-time.
To be eligible for the rent supplement you must be:
• Either already renting (or in homeless accommodation) for at least six months, or already on the Council’s housing needs list.
• Otherwise you must be first assessed by the Council as in housing need.

In the means test, Family Income
Supplement, PRSI, the cost of travelling to work, and the first €75 plus 25% of the balance of other income (e.g. part-time work under
30 hours) are disregarded. The first €95.23 of maintenance payments is assessed, above that, the income disregard applies.
People going back to full-time work (>30 hours) can only retain part supplement under its means-test if the Council has deemed them
eligible for the Rental Accomodation Scheme.
• Under the Rent Accommodation Scheme, Clare County Council can now enter into long-term contracts with a Private Landlord
on behalf of a person in need of housing who has been on rent supplement for more than 18 months. An income
related Rent will be calculated {i.e. 15% of after tax income in excess of €32 (single) €64 (couple)}. If you take up work
you still get a subsidized rent. If the Landlord withdraws, the council is obliged to secure another tenancy for the family
(For details, Tel: 065 6821616).
To be eligible for supplement on Mortgage Interest
• the loan must have been for the purchase, repair or essential improvement of your home, and
• the accommodation is deemed no greater than needed for the family. If the accommodation is too large or too
expensive (relative to the rent ceiling), the supplement may be restricted to only 12 months.
People going back to work (over 30 hours) or Community Employment Schemes will have tapered withdrawal of interest
supplement over 4 year (75%, 50%, 25% and 25%) so long as your gross household income (excluding PRSI, travel,
Back To Work and FIS) does not exceed €317.50/week.
• Housing Aid for pensioners

Clare County Council now operates the following Schemes which are dependant on sufficient funding being made available from the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government and subject to a means-test. In the event of a shortage of funding these schemes are dealt with on a priority basis.
The full grants below apply if the gross income of the owner and their spouse is
less than €30,000, dropping on a graduated basis to 30% for incomes €54,000 – €65,000, but no grant over that. They are:

• Housing Aid For Older People – a 100% grant in owner occupied homes, where they are beyond repair, of up to €10,500 for
structural repairs or improvements, rewiring, or replacement of windows and doors, heating, water, sanitary services.

• Mobility Aids – a 100% grant of up to €6,000 to address mobility problems, certified by a doctor (e.g. rails, ramps, stair-lifts and
level access showers) in owned or private rented homes.
• Housing Adaptation (Disability) – a 95% grant of up to €30,000 to adapt a home to suit the needs of a person with an
enduring disability (e.g. downstairs toilet/showers, wheelchair adaptation, extension etc.) in owned or private rented homes. The
works must be certified necessary by a doctor and may require an Occupational Therapist Report.

• WARMER HOMES: Sustainable Energy Ireland fund a Home Insulation scheme for pensioners, incapacitated and those on Fuel. For further details please contact 1800 250 204 or email warmerhomes@sei.ie
• GREENER HOMES: Sustainable Energy Ireland (Tel. 1805 734 734) provides grants to homeowners for insulation of Roof (up to €250), Cavity Wall (€400), Internal Wall (€2,500), External Wall (€4,000), for Heating Control (€500, + €200 in new boiler)
To qualify, you must apply for measures with a minimum grant of €500 for a first application. Along with your insulation works you
can get €200 grant for a Building Energy Rating (B.E.R.). Grants will typically cover 20–30% of the full cost. Energy savings of up to 50% can be achieved. It also gives up to €2,500 for the installation of an approved list of renewable energy heating systems
(heat pumps, solar or wood pellet systems) fitted by approved installers. An easy pay system is to be introduced by the Energy
Companies in 2010.

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