Residents of the Rowan Heights estate in Drogheda could be facing a 50% increase in their rent after housing association Respond reportedly issued home occupants with a notice that the rent cap in place for the estate is to be removed.
Mayor of Drogheda Paul Bell, who raised the issue at Monday’s Drogheda Borough Council meeting, said some residents were experiencing a “high level of distress”.
Rowan Heights was opened in 1999, having been designed by Respond Housing Association and constructed by M. Glennon Ltd. The estate was built with the support of Drogheda Borough Council and Louth County Council, and received funding from the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government.
The estate, located on Marley’s Lane on the southside of the town, includes 86 properties.
Mayor Bell said he raised the issue to the local authority because they would have initially nominated people to be housed in Rowan Heights. He said he had received representations from residents in the estate who had received letters from Respond advising them that the capping of their rent had been lifted.
The letter also reportedly stated that over a three year period, residents could see a 50% increase in rent costs.
“I do believe council has a responsibility in some way to liaise with that housing association to clarify if that is correct,” Mayor Bell told the meeting. “We have housed people through those kind of agencies. It is causing a high level of distress among some residents because as housing association rules go, the resident has no right to buy the property.”
“If you are in a council home, you may have an opportunity to buy the property, depending on the tenancy agreement. It is becoming quite alarming. Some people are in a very difficult position.
He added that some people were “very concerned” about their ability to pay rent. Mayor Bell told council officials he would be in a position to supply a copy of the letter sent to the Rowan Heights residents to the council.
“This is the first I am aware of that,” Director of Services for Housing Paddy Donnelly said, in response. “We will engage on that.”