Home economics... answering your property questions
Our property expert answers questions on issues with having to sub a house mate's rent and equity release to senior citizens.
Question: I am one of three tenants sharing a nice house and we always pay our rent on time to the landlord and have never had a problem with him. The issue is with one of the tenants who is constantly late with her rent. The other flatmate and I end up subbing her so that it's paid on time. She says she's waiting on work cheques (she's self-employed) but it's got very annoying and now she's not talking to us. I'm the lead renter as I was first in, and it's up to me to pay the total, but can we join forces and take action against her to make her pay up on time?
Sinead replies: Well, it depends on what you mean by 'action'. In the legal sense, the Private Residential Tenancies Board is generally there to sort out issues between landlord and tenant, but not between tenant and tenant. However, under Section 16 of the Residential Tenancies Act 2004, you can take a third party case against your landlord for failing to enforce the other tenant's obligations.
It seems to me you haven't yet involved your landlord though, and may be reluctant to do so. This would certainly crystallise the situation, but not in a way you might like.
I suggest you both write formally to the third tenant and outline your concern, indicating that you will have no option but to bring the issue to the landlord's attention directly and that you are no longer in a position to 'sub' her rent and wait on it.
She may not have realised how inappropriate this was, so give her the last benefit of the doubt. If this fails, you may have no option but to find a new tenant, and that way, bring the landlord into the equation.
This isn't your problem in one sense, but you have taken it on board up to now and I can't see how it would affect you or your own lease if this were to happen.
Question: My wife and I own our apartment in Rathfarnham in Dublin. Is there any bank left offering equity release to senior citizens?
Sinead replies: Years ago there were equity release products known as 'lifetime mortgages' marketed by banks to people just like you, but they have been done away with. They worked by not charging repayments during the term of the loan, but instead repaid the capital and interest from the estate when the person passed.
They relied in the meantime on a rising property market which, obviously, can no longer be guaranteed.
Ciaran Phelan, CEO of the Irish Brokers Association, says these specialist products moved out of the Irish market as banks became more prudent with their lending practices and most banks won't allow mortgages to be paid past the age of 65, although Bank of Ireland will take payments up to age 70 in certain circumstances.
They really don't want to have retirees mortgaged to the hilt on what are very often reduced incomes in the form of pensions.
It's entirely possible in your case that you could raise a shorter term personal loan, either with a bank, or through the credit union, but the amount would clearly be linked to repayment capacity rather than assets, and neither may want your house as collateral.