Rental Accommodation Scheme
What Is The Rental Accommodation Scheme (R.A.S.)?
The Rental Accommodation Scheme or RAS is a private-sector based accommodation option which may be considered to meet the housing needs of persons approved for social housing support and who are in receipt of a Rent Supplement Allowance (from the Department of Employment Affairs & Social Protection) normally for a period of 18 months+. It is an alternative option to the provision of Council-owned or Long Term Leased property in meeting housing need.
Under the Scheme, the tenant and/or Sligo County Council source a property, following which the Housing Authority negotiates a contract with the Landlord of the Private Rented Property for the use of their property to meet the immediate and long term housing need of a RAS eligible household.
Landlords do not collect rent from RAS Tenants. By entering into a 3-way contract with the Housing Authority and a tenant (Known as a Residential Tenancy Agreement), Landlords are guaranteed prompt rent payments each month by Sligo County Council for the duration of the RAS Contract
The tenant does not make any rent contribution to the landlord but instead pays a rent contribution directly to Sligo County Council as per the Councils Differential Rent Scheme.
Please note that legislation defines entering into and maintaining residential tenancy agreements as a form of social housing support, therefore upon a Household being accommodated under RAS, the Household will no longer be included on the Housing Waiting Transfer List.
Where the Housing Authority is of the view that RAS is the most appropriate form of Social Housing Support for an applicant’s household, a person may transfer onto RAS in one of two ways:
- If their current accommodation (in respect of which the household is currently in receipt of Rent Supplement) meets the household’s accommodation requirements; complies with standards for rented houses and the owner is agreeable to transfer the tenancy to RAS, the tenant remains in their current accommodation under RAS;
- If a Household’s housing need cannot be met in their current accommodation (in respect of which the household is currently in receipt of Rent Supplement) for whatever reason, alternative suitable private rented accommodation may be sourced by the tenant and / or the Council and secured for the Household under RAS.
Key Elements of the Scheme
- The applicant must be in receipt of a rent supplement under the Supplementary Welfare Allowance Scheme for a minimum of 18 months.
- The applicant must be approved for social housing support, as assessed by the Housing Authority.
- The applicant must have a right to permanent residence in the state.
- The Council pays the full rent to the landlord on behalf of the tenant.
- Landlords must register tenancies with the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB) and the tenancies are governed by the Residential Tenancies Act 2004.
- The property must meet minimum standards for private rental accommodation as determined by the Housing Authority.
- Deposits are not required since the Council has entered into a contract with the landlord.
- The landlord must agree to the transfer of the tenancy to RAS.
- The landlord must be tax compliant and have a current Tax Clearance Certificate.
- Non-residential landlords are also liable to a 20% tax deduction made monthly. The Landlord may claim tax-credits on this deduction from Revenue.
- The Residential Tenancies Act 2004 will govern the relationship between the landlord and the tenant.
- A Building Energy Rating Certificate is required.
- The property will be required to be provided with 2 working smoke detectors and a fire blanket.
- Properties for consideration must be Furnished.
- A completed Inspection/Compliance Report will be required in respect of each property before any agreement is made.
Incentives for Tenants
- RAS will give a Tenant security of tenure.
- Rent payable by the Tenant is calculated based on the total household income in accordance with Sligo County Council’s Differential Rent Scheme.
- RAS will lead to improvements in quality and standards of private rented accommodation.
- If the Tenant secures employment, the Tenant can remain in RAS. However, a Tenant’s rent payment may need to be revised in order to take account of the change in household income. The revised rent is assessed in accordance with Sligo County Council’s Differential Rent Scheme.
- The Residential Tenancies Acts 2004-2015 protects the rights of private rented sector tenants after a period of six months. RAS will not affect the Tenant’s rights under this law. A RAS Contract outlines all obligations of the Tenant, Landlord and Housing Authority.
- The Council will engage directly with the Landlord regarding rent payments or rent increases.
How can I include my property in the Rental Accommodation Scheme?
If you own a property and are interested in entering into a contract with the Council under the Rental Accommodation Scheme, then you may complete an Expression of Interest Form - RAS and submit it along with the necessary documentation to the Housing Office.
Incentives for Landlords
- Guaranteed medium to long term occupancy, guaranteed income stream payable in advance by EFT from a state agency without having to collect rent.
- The landlord will receive prompt payments directly from the local authority for the duration of the RAS contract.
For existing landlords, any request for a review of monthly payments should be submitted in writing to the RAS office.
Management and Maintenance of RAS Property
The core principle of RAS is that the Landlord and Tenant relationship remains between those parties and the Landlord retains responsibility for the following:-
- Insurance: property Insurance, contents Insurance and public liability Insurance.
- The management and maintenance of the property including routine maintenance / repair and replacement of equipment and all furnishings and fittings.
- Addressing Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) issues - dealing with breaches of the tenant's obligations to the landlord should they arise.
- Any matters relating to the returning of keys in the event that a tenant no longer occupies a RAS property is a matter between the landlord and the tenant.
- The vacating of a property and the serving of a Notice of Termination (from either the landlord or the tenant) is a matter between the landlord and the tenant.
- It is the responsibility of the landlord to regularly check their property and to ensure that their tenant is complying with their obligations to their landlord.
The Landlord and/or the Property must comply with the following requirements
The property must meet the minimum standards as set out in the Housing (Standards for Rented Houses) Regulations;
Deposits are not required since the Council has entered into a contract with the Landlord;
The Landlord must agree to transfer of the Tenancy to RAS;
The Landlord must be Tax compliant (a TC2 Tax Clearance Certificate is required);
Non-residential Landlords require a TC2 but are also liable to a 20% tax deduction made monthly. The Landlord may claim tax-credits on this deduction from Revenue;
The Residential Tenancies Acts, will govern the relationship between the Landlord and the Tenant;
A Building Energy Rating Certificate is required;
The property will be required to be provided with Two working Smoke Detectors and a Fire Blanket;
Properties for consideration must be Furnished;
Landlord must confirm that all Household Charges/Taxes are paid in respect of the Property;
An Inspection/Condition Report will be required/completed in respect of each property before any Agreements are made.
Gas, Oil and Electricity Installations
All houses that are let or available for letting must ensure that the installations for the supply of gas, oil and electricity including pipework, storage facilities and electrical distribution boxes shall be maintained in good repair and safe working order.
The presence of one of more of the following will assist in assessing compliance with these Regulations:
- A current Periodic Inspection Report by a Safe Electric registered electrical contractor for the electrical installation in the house, which shows that "no remedial work is required".
If you own a property in Sligo which you are interested in making available under RAS, you may download the application form below and submit it along with the required information to the Housing Office, Sligo County Council, Riverside, Sligo.
Further information can be obtained at Housing Standards for Rented Housing
What to do, if somebody wants to move in with me in my RAS Property
It is necessary to submit an Application for Permission to Reside in a RAS Property with all the necessary documentation to the Housing Office.
What to do, if somebody no longer resides with me in my RAS Property
If the person leaving the property is a joint tenant then it is necessary to submit an Application to Remove a Joint RAS Tenant together with all the necessary documentation to the Housing Office.
If the person leaving is not a joint tenant, then it is necessary to confirm the date of departure in writing and submit documentary evidence of their new address ie utility bill, bank statement (dated within the last six months).
Can I succeed a RAS tenancy?
If you consider that you are eligible to succeed a RAS tenancy it is necessary to submit an Application Form for Succession of RAS Tenancy together with the necessary documentation to the Housing Office.
How can I get my Rent Re-Assessed?
It is necessary to submit a completed Rent Review Form together with the necessary documentation to the Housing Office.
Can I transfer to an alternative form of Social Housing Support?
If your current accommodation does not meet the needs of your household you may apply for a transfer. Transfers to alternative accommodation may be considered on the following grounds only;
- Overcrowding –Section 63 of the Housing Act, 1966 (will be subject to technical inspection to verify this).
- Medical – e.g. Special adaptations to dwelling / ground floor accommodation required to meet a housing need (must be accompanied by Occupational Therapists Report, Consultant’s letter and /or relevant documentation).
- Downsizing - Considered as part of the Councils’ policies on management of housing stock and or demand for social housing in particular areas. Consideration will be given to the demand for the property, were it be vacated
In addition to the above grounds, tenants must also fulfil the following criteria;
- Held a tenancy at current address for at least two years
- Have a clear rent account for at least twelve (12) months prior to application
- Kept current dwelling in a satisfactory condition (will be subject to property condition inspection)
- Complied with all conditions of Tenancy Agreement
- Have no record of anti-social behaviour (will be subject to verification with Housing Investigations Officer)
What should I do if I get a Notice of Termination?
You need to send a copy of your Notice of Termination to the RAS Office as soon as possible. You can e-mail it to email@example.com for the attention of the RAS office.
Correspondence will issue from the RAS office and you are obliged to submit the requested information.
It is a requirement that you have a clear rent account. You may make direct contact with the Finance Department on 071 911 1316 or 911 1330 or 911 1332 or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org for the attention of the Finance Department in this regard.
If you source suitable alternative accommodation and your landlord is willing to enter into a contract under the Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS) you should make immediate contact with the RAS office.
How can I access the Residential Tenancy Board (RTB)?
Information on Tenancy Law and RTB Services is available at https://onestopshop.rtb.ie/ The RTB helpline is Lo-call on 0818 30 30
37 (mobile operators might charge a premium rate to the Lo-call number) or 01 702 8100 - available from Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 6.30pm.
If you have any questions regarding your Notice of Termination you should make contact with the Residential Tenancy Board at www.rtb.ie
How can I access Threshold?
Threshold is a housing charity which provides free and independent advice and advocacy services to renters.
How to access the service
- You can speak to an advisor by phoning the free phone number 1800 454 454 Monday to Friday 9am to 9pm.
- By going to the website www.threshold.ie, you can email your query to Threshold, engage through web chat or set up an online video consultation.
- You can also get in touch with Threshold by posting the notice of termination and any other relevant documents such as your lease to Threshold, 5 Prospect Hill, Galway. Don’t forget to provide your contact details.
What Threshold can do to help you
- Threshold can advise you as to whether your notice of termination is valid or not.
- Contact your landlord on your behalf to try to resolve the issue informally.
- Assist you in disputing the invalid notice by helping you submit a case to the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB).
- Provide you with a letter for Sligo County Council if you have been given valid notice of termination.
Information Threshold needs to help you
If you are contacting Threshold because you have been given written notice to leave your privately rented accommodation, it would be helpful for you to advise of the following:
- When your tenancy started?
- If you have a lease or contract? and if so, provide Threshold with a copy.
- Provide a copy of the notice of termination and statutory declaration if the landlord is selling the property or needs it for their own use or that of a family member.
- Any warning letters you may have been given for tenancy breach or rent arrears.
- Provide your contact details including phone number and email if you have them.
For more information freephone 1800 454 454 or contact Threshold through the website https://www.threshold.ie/advice/help.html