Local authority rents are based on a system called "differential rents". This means that the rent is based on your ability to pay, so if your income is low, your rent will be low; and if your income increases, so will your rent. The income of any other members of your household will be added to the rent calculation and there may be deductions for any children in your family.
Each local authority operates its own rent scheme. Westmeath County Council has a minimum rent, which may depend on the size of your home. There is also a hardship clause that gives local authorities discretion to reduce the rent if there are particular reasons to do this. If your income or the income of anyone in your family changes, you must inform the local authority.
The most common difficulty local authority tenants get into, is rent arrears. If for whatever reason you find you are falling behind with the rent, it is vital to talk to your local authority or housing association and explain your situation. It is in everyone's interest to sort the problem out, without having to evict you. But if you cannot pay your rent and you fail to do anything about it, you may end up losing your home.
If you are in financial difficulty, the local authority or housing association should be able to help you sort this out and pay a little bit off the rent arrears each week.
The Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS) is a free, confidential service for people with debt and money management problems. Anyone from any background can experience debt and money problems and MABS staff are fully trained to help. The MABS service is available through the MABS offices located in Mullingar and Athlone.
Rent can be paid by:
Rent must be paid weekly