Private home rentals second in Ireland
COUNTY Wexford has the second highest number of Rental Accommodation Scheme houses in the country.
Only Dublin South County Council has more houses in the RAS scheme, which sees local authorities leasing houses from private landlords on behalf of tenants for up to five years.
The Wexford figure has risen strongly since January 2011, when there were 245 RAS tenancies. By January of this year, it was 645.
However, councillors have serious concerns about the scheme and see it as a poor replacement for social house building.
'A RAS house can never be called a proper home because people don't know how long they are going to be in it,' said Cllr Bobby Ireton.
Cllr Malcom Byrne said RAS tenants don't have the opportunity to buy their own properties.
Cllr Byrne argued in favour of RAS tenants being allowed to transfer back to a council scheme. 'I understand that's not permitted,' he said.
Director of Services Tony Larkin replied that these are private houses owned by landlors and, in any event, all tenant purchase options are currently suspended.
Many RAS tenants are coming to the end of their lease terms and the owners can claim the houses back if they wish, said Cllr Padge Reck: 'The most important thing for people is secure tenure and RAS is not secure tenure.'