07 Oct 2022

Leitrim councillor believes home sharing is one way of addressing housing crisis

Home owners  in Leitrim insure their contents for an average  of €37,034.49

Home sharing could be one of the solutions to the housing situation

A North Leitrim councillor has called for the removal of “all financial penalties” preventing old age pensioners from sharing their home with tenants, noting that this sort of arrangement could help to address urgent housing shortages in the country.
Cllr Felim Gurn said that elderly people living alone could benefit from having a tenant live with them.

“This would address the urgent housing shortages in the country, and reduce isolation, loneliness, and safety concerns for the older population by having someone live with them,” he pointed out as he brought his proposal before the September Council meeting.

“Currently an older person living alone will lose their living alone allowances, i.e. tv license and fuel allowances if they share their home or a home that is empty as a result of participation in the Fair Deal scheme,” noted Cllr Gurn.
“Of course, any person living with an elderly person in this sort of scheme would have to be garda vetted but there are a lot of benefits to this sort of arrangement.”

He said that not only would a tenant in a household be able to assist the elderly homeowners by completing basic jobs around the house like changing light bulbs, but they would also provide companionship for an age group which often becomes increasingly isolated as they age.

Cllr Gurn said this could be expanded further to encompass the renting of homes currently unoccupied because the owners have entered nursing homes under the Fair Deal Scheme.

“What is to stop these homes, which are often idle for years, from being rented out to families in need of accommodation?” he asked.
“This may be a way to help solve the current housing crisis,” he pointed out.

His motion was backed by Cllr Des Guckian and Cllr Sean McDermott who observed “when houses are scarce this sort of motion makes sense.”

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