I welcome progress to allow Nursing home residents to be able to retain all income from renting out their homes under plans being finalised by the Government.
“The Minister for Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien agreed to introduce this measures and it is time now to move ahead with the changes while introducing extra safeguards for older people whose homes are being rented out”.
Under current regulations, those in nursing homes under the Fair Deal scheme must give up 40 per cent of the income from their home if it is placed on the private rental market, making a contribution towards their care.
As a member of the Regional Group of Independent TDs we put forward this proposal amid political controversy over the Coalition’s decision to lift the eviction ban in March, Mr O’Brien announced that 100 per cent of the rental income would be cleared for retention as part of a package of measures to combat vacancy.
A decision was delayed pending a review of the potential impact of the changes. That review was due to take place within three or four weeks but has dragged on for months.
“I now understand that Minister O’Brien intends to put in place a working group of officials and Health Service Executive safeguarding teams as well as representatives from NGOs involved in advocacy for older people, and the Decision Support Service, to act as a watchdog against financial abuse or premature entry into care”.
“The unnecessary delay has been due to concerns within Government which are groundless. Essentially there is no threat to older people as the clinical assessment on the need for long term care is carried out by the HSE who are independent and will not be influenced in any way when making their clinical assessment”.
The Department of Housing estimated last November that just short of 11,000 homes were vacant due to their owners being in residential care settings like nursing homes or long-term hospital stays. Lifting the cap on income that can be retained would allow many more homes to be brought on to the market. The present situation acts as a direct and serious disincentive to the properties becoming available for rent.