North Tipperary County Council has denied a claim that it is telling people to put incorrect details on rent allowance forms in order to quality for a grant.
“It is well known that people are being told by people in authority to fill out their forms wrongly. Landlords are being asked to fill reduce rent on the form,” he said. “People who won’t falsify forms are not been given the Rent Allowance Subsidy (RAS).”
However, the council’s housing officer was adament that “no official in this council is asking people to falsify information”.
Cllr Morris had earlier claimed the council was not hitting its housing targets because landlords can be “fussy” about who they want. “I know of one guy with 12 refusals under RAS.” He said the privatising of council housing was “collapsing around their ears”.
Referring to Drummin Village in Nenagh, Cllr Morris said there was no sense in having houses there blocked up and the council spending money on repairing fencing.
“We are fixing things that are broken, but we’d be better off with tenants in them,” he said.
Cllr Morris later took issue with Cllr Virginia O’Dowd over the level of rents being charged by some landlords.
“Some landlords think they are going to get Celtic Tiger rents. I appeal to landlords to be a bit more reasonable,” she said.
However, defending landlords, Cllr Morris said: “I know landlords paying E1,000 on loans and only getting E500 in rent. Most of the houses are owned by business people who bought them to pay for pensions for themselves.”
He was backed by Cllr Seamus Hanafin who said yields were important for private landlords who had invested in houses and the yields were too low.
Meanwhile, the housing officer told Cllr Morris that RAS levels had actually been raised in North Tipperary by Junior Minister Jan O’Sullivan to bring them into line with South Tipperary.
She also said that there were vacant houses in Newport, Ballina and Toomevara.