Rental Accommodation Scheme - Q&As for tenants and landlords
1. Who is eligible for RAS?
If you are getting Rent Supplement for a long period and you are in need of long-term housing, you may be eligible for RAS. The scheme is run by local authorities. The local authority makes the final decision regarding who is eligible under the scheme. In general, people who are getting Rent Supplement for more than 18 months are considered for RAS.
2. How will RAS work?
Under RAS, local authorities draw up contracts with landlords to provide housing for an agreed term for people with a long-term housing need. The local authority pays the rent directly to the landlord on behalf of the tenant. You may still contribute to your rent but you pay this contribution to your local authority, not to your landlord.
3. How will RAS benefit you?
RAS will give you long-term housing security. RAS will also lead to improvements in the quality and standards of private rented accommodation. If you get a job you can stay in the scheme but you will have to contribute more towards the rent.
4. Who is responsible for maintenance issues and repairs under a RAS contract?
Under a RAS contract, the landlord retains responsibility for all issues relating to maintenance and repairs.
5. Does RAS affect my rights under the Residential Tenancies Acts 2004-2015?
The Residential Tenancies Acts 2004-2015 (RTA) protects the rights of private rented sector tenants after a period of six months. The RAS scheme will not affect your rights under this law. The tenancy agreement is, or will be, between you and your landlord. The local authority is not your landlord. Your landlord is the person you made the rental agreement with and to whom the local authority pays the rent. Under the RTA, your landlord must register your tenancy with the Residential Tenancies Board.
1. What are the main features of RAS?
The local authority will enter into contractual arrangements with accommodation providers to secure the medium to long-term availability of private rental accommodation for RAS. While different contract types may be entered into they will have the following features:
- The local authority will pay the full rent to the landlord on behalf of the tenant
- The Residential Tenancies Acts 2004-2015 will govern the relationship between the landlord and the tenant
- The landlord must be tax compliant (tax clearance certificate must be renewed annually and contracts will be produced in the name that appears on the cert)
- The property must meet minimum standards for private rental accommodation, as determined by the local authority
- The landlord must register the tenancy with the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB)
2. What does RAS involve?
RAS involves a three-way relationship between:
- The local authority and the landlord
- The landlord and the tenant
- The tenant and the local authority
The local authority will seek to enter into a contractual arrangement with the accommodation provider to make housing available to RAS for an agreed term. The terms of this contract will be negotiated between the two parties. The accommodation may be an existing property or new build. The local authority will guarantee the rent on behalf of the tenant and will undertake to make the full payment directly to the landlord.
The local authority will then nominate a RAS recipient to the accommodation who signs a residential tenancy agreement with the landlord. The nominee could be an existing tenant of the property who currently receives rent supplement and is eligible for RAS. The local authority will be party to this agreement as guarantor of the rent.
Finally, the RAS recipient and the local authority agree that the local authority will make payments to the landlord on the recipient's behalf.
3. Landlord & tenant relationship and responsibilities of landlord
The main "landlord and tenant" relationship remains between the property owner and the RAS tenant. The local authority acts as agent on behalf of the tenant.
The landlord is responsible for:
- Insurance: property, landlord's contents and public liability
- Routine maintenance / repair and replacement of equipment; and
- Dealing with breaches of the tenant's obligations to the landlord should they arise
4. What benefits has RAS for landlords?
- The landlord will receive prompt payments directly from the local authority for the duration of the RAS contract; there will be no need for rent collection from RAS tenants leading to administrative savings for landlords.
- Landlords who rent to tenants in receipt of social housing supports, such as RAS and Rent Supplement, may avail of increased tax relief under a new scheme from 1 January 2016. The new scheme will allow property owners to claim 100 per cent relief on their mortgage interest, as an expense against rental income. To qualify, the landlord must undertake to make the accommodation available to qualifying tenants for a minimum of three years, and the undertaking must be registered with the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB). Further information is also available from the Revenue Commissioners on www.revenue.ie
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