Rental Accommodation Scheme

What Is The Rental Accommodation Scheme (R.A.S.)?

R.A.S. is a scheme which has been in operation since 2006.  Under the Scheme, the Council will source good quality houses and, on ascertaining that the properties are suitable and the Landlords are compliant with tax, etc., a monthly rent is agreed at a competitive rate for a period of up to four years.  The Landlord is guaranteed a monthly rent for the duration of the contract.

RAS properties will be allocated to people who are in receipt of Rent Supplement for more than 18 months and who have been assessed by the Council as having a long-term housing need (excluding asylum seekers or other non-nationals who do not have leave to remain in the State permanently).  The scheme is being administered by the Council and provides good quality rented accommodation for eligible persons to meet long-term housing need.  
  

What requirements / criteria does the tenant have to meet to qualify for RAS?

  1. Must be assessed as having a medium to long-term housing need i.e. the tenant must be on the Sligo County Council housing list.
  2. The tenant must be in receipt of Rent Supplement for more than 18 months.
      

What benefit is it to the tenant engaging in the scheme?

  1. Property complies with certain minimum physical standards.
  2. Secure tenure.
  3. Opportunity to take up full time employment.  
      

How long is the contract for?

The lease period will be negotiated between the RAS unit and the Landlord when all criteria have been adhered to and the Landlord is happy to engage in the scheme.  It can be for a period up to 4 years (re/ Residential Tenancies Act, 2004).  The lease will be administered on a case by case basis.
  

How much will the tenant’s rent be?

If the persons income is basic Social Welfare i.e. Job Seekers Allowance, Disability Allowance etc the minimum rent is €30 weekly.  If income is more than this, the rent is calculated in line with the Local Authority’s Differential Rent Scheme and can be up to a maximum of €75 weekly.  
  

What requirements / criteria does the Landlord have to meet in order to qualify for RAS?

All landlords have a legal duty to ensure that their rented properties comply with certain minimum physical standards.nbsp;nbsp;These minimum standards are set out in the Housing (Standards for Rented Houses) Regulations 2017. These Regulations replaces the Housing (Standards for Rented Houses) Regulations 2008 and the Housing (Standards for Rented Houses) Amendment Regulations 2009.

Requirements

  1. A current Tax Clearance Certificate.
  2. Agree to have property and tenant registered with the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB).
  3. Insurance for fire, theft, contents etc. for the property rented to the Council.
  4. Provision of a BER (Building Energy Rating) Certificate for the property.
  5. Proof that the Local Property Tax and NPPR (Non Principal Private Residence) charges have been paid.
  6. Provision of a current Periodic Inspection Report by a Safe Electric registered contractor for the electrical installation in the house. nbsp;The Inspection Report should shall show a standard which states that “NO REMEDIAL WORK IS REQUIRED”.
  7. Provision of a current Declaration of Conformance for an IS 813:2014 Annex E Safety Check inspection by a Registered Gas Installer for the gas installation in the house (applicable where there is a gas installation). 
  8. Provision of a current report from a suitably competent person that the oil installation in the house is safe and in proper working order.
      

What are the minimum standards?

For each house let or available for letting, the landlord must ensure that the rental property is in a proper state of structural repair.nbsp;nbsp;This means that the landlord must maintain the property in a sound state, inside and out.nbsp;nbsp;Roofs, slates, windows, floors, ceilings, walls, stairs, doors, skirting boards, fascia’s, tiles on any floor, ceiling and wall, gutters, down pipes, fittings, gardens and common areas must be maintained in good condition and repair and not defective due to dampness or otherwise.

 Suitable safety restrictors must be fitted where a window has an opening section through which a person may fall, and the bottom of the opening section is more that 1400mm above the external ground level.

Adequate provision shall be made to prevent harbourage or ingress of pests or vermin.

The landlord must ensure that all gas, oil and electricity installations are maintained in good repair, and safe working order and that every room has adequate ventilation and both natural and artificial lighting.

The landlord must provide in safe condition and good working order:

  • Within the same habitable area of the house for the exclusive use of the house
    • A water closet with a dedicated wash hand basin with hot and cold water
    • A fixed bath or shower with hot and cold water.
  • All shall be with safe and effective means of drainage, minimum capacity for hot and cold water storage facilities and be properly insulated.
  • A fixed heating appliance in each room, which is capable of providing effective heating and which the tenant can control.
  • A heat producing appliance shall have an adequate supply of air to it for combustion and for the efficient working of any flue pipe or chimney. nbsp;The heat producing appliance shall have adequate provision for the discharge of the products of combustion to the outside air.
  • Where necessary, suitably located devices for the detection and alarm of carbon monoxide.
  • Facilities for cooking and for the hygienic storage of food including, a 4-ring hob with oven and grill, fridge and freezer or fridge-freezer (a fridge with an ice box will not suffice) and microwave oven.   A cooker hood or extractor fan which removes the fumes of cooking to the external air. nbsp;A sink with hot and cold water and adequate draining area.
  • Access to a washing machine
  • Access to a clothes-dryer if the rented unit does not have a private garden or yard or access to a communal drying facility.
  • A suitably located smoke alarm in the ground floor hallway (or room in open plan design) and each upper floor landing of the stairway and fire blanket which must be securely wall mounted in a prominent location and provided with clear instructions on its use.
  • Access to vermin-proof and pest-proof refuse storage facilities.
  • Sufficient information shall be provided to the tenant about the rented property, the fixed building services, appliances and their routine maintenance requirements so that the occupant can operate them correctly.

In multi-unit buildings, the landlord must provide each unit with a mains-wired smoke alarm; a fire blanket; and display an emergency evacuation plan.nbsp;nbsp;There must also be suitable fire detection and alarm systems and emergency lighting in common areas. 

The above is not an exhaustive list and landlords should not rely upon it in assessing the compliance of the property with the standards.nbsp;nbsp;Please refer to the Housing (Standards for Rented Houses) Regulations 2017 and the Guide to Minimum Standards in Rented Accommodation for full details of rented accommodation requirements.
  

What if the property does not meet the minimum standards?

Councils are responsible for enforcing these minimum standards. This includes inspection of properties.nbsp;nbsp;If you are a tenant and you think your accommodation is not up to standard, you can contact your Council.

Failure to comply with the minimum standards can result in penalties and prosecution.nbsp;nbsp;Councils can issue Improvement Notices and Prohibition Notices to landlords who breach the minimum standards regulations.

An Improvement Notice sets out the works that the landlord must carry out to remedy a breach of the regulations.

There may also be a role for the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB), for example, where a landlord is not responding to a request to repair a heating appliance or where a tenant is using the property in such a way as to lead to deterioration in the condition of the property and breach of a standard.
  

What benefit is it to Landlords to engage in this scheme?

It is a guaranteed income stream for the Landlord.nbsp;nbsp;The Council acts as an agent and nominates tenant(s) who have been interviewed and vetted.  The Landlord saves on the expense of advertising, engaging with agents for a fee and/or showing the property.nbsp;nbsp;The Rent is paid directly by Council eliminating collection costs.
  

Can a Landlord opt out of the scheme during the lease due to unforeseen circumstances or to sell the property?

Yes as long as the reason to opt out of the scheme is stated in the Residential Tenancies Act, 2004. nbsp;If the tenant engages in anti-social behaviour they may be asked to leave and in this case they would not be eligible for other housing supports by the Council.  
  

If the property is damaged will the Council cover the cost of repair?

The Council will pay up to one month’s rent towards unnecessary damage to the property.nbsp;nbsp;House insurance is a requirement of the Landlord to engage in RAS scheme.
  

When will the payments for rent be paid?

Rent will be paid to the Landlord on a monthly basis.  
  

Who is responsible for inspecting the property for the duration of the contract?

All landlords are advised to inspect their property regularly to ensure their tenant(s) is/are complying with the terms of the contract.  
  

Contact Information

Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS) Unit,
Sligo County Council,
County Hall,
Riverside,
Sligo 
Telephone: 071 9111231

Email: ecurrid@sligococo.ie