Nenagh councillors want loan cap lifted to help 'squeezed' couples

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Nenagh councillors want loan cap lifted to help 'squeezed' couples

Tipperary County Council has been urged to have the cap on council loan applications lifted as many people are being squeezed out of getting a mortgage.

The call was made at Nenagh Municipal District Council by Cllr Seamus Morris, who said that couples earning over €35,000 were exempt from council loans.

“These couples are forever in rented homes and because they are renting they can't save for a mortgage,” he said.

Cllr Morris sad that the council needed a pilot project to help these couples get on the property ladder.

He was supported by Cllr Hughie McGrath, who said people just outside the cap were being squeezed.

“People with a deposit who want a council loan are being restricted to houses valued at €70,000 or €80,000 and that limits their capability,” he said.

Cllr McGrath said that this was bringing these couples back into older housing stock that may not be suitable for a young family.

“The cap should go up to €120,000,” he said. “It is not possible to buy a three-bedroomed terrace house for €70,000.”

Cllr Michael O'Meara claimed that people who had been council tenants for periods up to 20 years were being barred from buying out their house.

“It is wrong to stop someone buying out their house when they have the money,” he said.

Cllr Morris was also supported by Cllr Mattie Ryan, who said the country had gone “overboard with regulations” when it came to having to ensure houses were in pristine condition before the council handed them over.

Further backing came from Cllr Ger Darcy and Cllr Phyll Bugler, Cathaoirleach of Nenagh MDC.

However, housing director Clare Curley pointed out that the loan guidelines were set nationally and the council had no discretion.

In relation to Cllr O'Meara's claim about people not being able to buy out their houses, Ms Curley said that there was a Department review on tenant purchase but the thinking was that you could simply not just buy out your house even with the required funding as people would need money for maintenance.

“You can't buy if your earnings are less than €15,000 per year or if you are on social welfare,” she said.

However, when it came to loans the council was “open for business but you need to get your ducks in a row and have a savings record”.

Councillors were told that there were 16 vacant houses in the MDC area with five a work in progress, seven were being surveyed and four were due to relocation applications. There are 695 people on the housing list.

The council has received Department approval for two new houses in Cloughjordan and the council was anxious to progress work in Mulcare View, Newport; Portroe, Borrisokane and Nenagh.