I am encouraging Clare County Council tenants to consider the new tenant purchase scheme as a way to achieving to home ownership.

The new tenant purchase scheme, which will come into operation on the 1st of January 2016, will enable tenants to buy their homes after many years of paying rent to the Council, and under the new scheme, Local Authority tenants will be able to avail of a higher discount than was previously available.

The discount would be linked to the tenant’s income and that of his or her spouse, and could amount to 40%, 50% or 60% of the purchase price. The period of the scheme is 20, 25 or 30 years, depending on the discount given to the tenant purchaser. If the purchaser decides to sell the house during that period they will then pay the incremental purchase charge, which withers away to zero over the charge period. So if the tenant stays in the house for the full period, they avail of the full discount.

The discounts available to the potential house purchaser will be higher under this new scheme than was previously the case. Under the old scheme, discounts were related to the length of tenancy rather than income. The new scheme, with its new incremental purchase model, means that the discounts are much higher than before and, because the discounts are income-related, they will enable tenants to purchase their homes earlier in their tenancies than was the case under previous schemes. This means that Local Authority tenants don’t have to wait as long for the chance to buy their own home. It will also encourage tenant purchasers to remain in their dwellings for a reasonable length of time after purchase, thus fostering stable and sustainable communities.

The scheme will be open to tenants or joint tenants who have been in receipt of social housing support for a minimum of at least a year, and who have a minimum reckonable income of at least €15,000 per annum.

The scheme is a really great way for Local Authority tenants to be able to purchase their own homes. Many tenants have invested in their homes over the years and deserve to have the option to own their home outright.  As well as the individual benefits to purchasers, the scheme also has societal benefits in that it ensures a mix of private ownership and Local Authority tenancy in these housing developments around the country, and also encourages the purchasers to stay in their homes for a long time.

All of this contributes to the creation of stable, sustainable and cohesive communities.