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Hundreds of city council tenants now owe €10,000

DUBLIN City Council is struggling to get some of its tenants to pay their rents -- more than 300 have now built up arrears of over €10,000 each.

Almost €20m is now owed to the council in outstanding rents as city bosses struggle to get households to pay on time and in full.

New figures show 309 households owe over €10,000 each.

One tenant has built up an unpaid rent bill of €32,401.

The council today admitted it is "extremely concerned" at the size of the arrears.

According to a report presented to the council's finance committee, 15 of the 20 highest rent arrears apply to homes on the northside of the city.

"Out of the properties with the highest arrears in this sample, the most common property is a three-bedroom house on the northside," the report states.

The council's rent section is responsible for over 24,000 occupied tenancies on both sides of the city.

A number of "performance -monitoring systems" have been put in place which assist staff in making decisions such as whether to evict a tenant.

The council has carried out a number of evictions this year for unpaid arrears.

The report states: "The dominant demographic profile of those evicted in 2012 is of a single adult male living in a flat in the inner city. The arrears ranged from €1,822 to €10,260."

Some €18.35m of the overall debt relates to unpaid rent that is older than 12 weeks, while €924,087 is listed as being between six and 12 weeks.

In a statement to the Herald, the council said: "Under-declaration of income and failure to report changes in circumstances are the primary reasons for the €20m arrears. The rent assessment policy is to apply retrospective debits to accounts where there has been an under-declaration of household income.

Concerned

"In the interest of fairness and equality to the many thousands of tenants who maintain and manage their accounts in accordance with their tenancy agreements, the council's policy is to vigorously pursue tenants who intentionally or otherwise under-declare their income."

It added: "The council is extremely concerned at the size of the arrears and is fully committed to collecting the entire sum.

"However, it is also mindful of the current economic difficulties faced by its tenants and will pursue collection of this sum by agreement with its tenants over a sustainable and appropriate period."

hnews@herald.ie


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