Scheme is discriminating against older people and separated couples

Leitrim Observer reporter

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Scheme is  discriminating against older people and separated couples

Fianna Fáil TD for Sligo-Leitrim Eamon Scanlon has criticised anomalies in the new Tenant Purchase Scheme, which makes it almost impossible for older people or people who have separated from their spouses to qualify to buy their home.

Speaking in the Dáil, Deputy Scanlon commented, “While there are a number of positive aspects in the new scheme, I am concerned about certain aspects of it which will make it extremely difficult for some people to buy a home.  The main aim of the scheme is to give families living in local authority houses or units to buy their home outright, which is an ambition for many tenants.

“I have been contacted by people who are finding it difficult to qualify for the scheme because their name was on the title of another property - whether in the case of a family home, parents' home, or a home from a previous relationship sold following a divorce.  While the local authority is able to sell them the home, it cannot lend them the money because they are not deemed a first time buyer.  These people are then advised to approach a bank for a mortgage but many will not lend to them as a result of the incremental purchase charge.

“The second issue relates to the €15,000 earned income.  Many older people have been saving for years to build up the funds to buy their own home, however under the rules of the Tenant Purchase Scheme they are prevented from doing so because they are dependent on social welfare payments.  A lot of older people have the €15,000 but because their income now is based on their pension or other payments they are deemed ineligible.  This is deeply unfair.

“I am calling on Minister Murphy to examine these anomalies and remove them from the scheme so that people, who have saved the necessary funds can be approved and can buy their home”.