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Threshold for purchasing local authority homes lowered

The Government has lowered the threshold for long-term tenants to own their local authority homes.

In January 2024, the Government lowered the qualifying threshold for the Incremental Tenant Purchase Scheme to €11,000 from €12,500.

New eligibility criteria to the Incremental Tenant Purchase Scheme, which includes lowering the minimum income requirement and broadening of the welfare payments that can be counted as income, was introduced on 29 January 2024.

The Government has indicated that the scheme is particularly geared at helping older people buy their home, with Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien TD adding that he aims to “strike a balance” between facilitating long-term tenants to purchase their homes but not unduly diminishing the local authority housing stock available for those on the waiting list.

Around 350 homes were bought under the Incremental Tenant Purchase Scheme in 2022, which allows local authority tenants to buy their homes with discounts on the market rate paid of between 40 to 60 per cent, depending on income. The changes to the qualifying criteria of the scheme mean that residents with an annual income of €11,000 are now eligible to apply (replacing the previous income limit of €12,500).

In addition to changes in the income eligibility, the previous requirement in the case of joint applications that both tenants had to have been receiving social housing support for 10 years has been changed and now only one tenant is required to fulfil the requirement.

These changes are based on Housing for All’s commitment to maintaining the right of social housing tenants to purchase their own home if they wish and are part of the work being carried out on the broader social housing reform agenda, with the objective of bringing consistency and fairness across the different schemes in this area.

Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Darragh O’Brien TD says: “These changes to the Incremental Tenant Purchase Scheme will help those social housing tenants who wish to own their own home to do so as well as providing housing security and supporting people to remain living in their communities.

“The scheme is one of a number of affordable purchase options which meet the needs of those requiring long-term housing support and helps low-income tenants make a start on the route to homeownership.”