What is RAS?
The Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS) was introduced to cater for the accommodation needs of persons who are in receipt of rent supplement, normally for more than 18 months, and who have a long term housing need as determined by Galway City Council.
Under the scheme local authorities draw up contracts with landlords to provide housing for an agreed term for people with a long-term housing need. The local authority pays the rent directly to the landlord. Tenants pay their rent ot the local authority.
The key elements of the RAS scheme are:
- Local authorities pay the full rent to the landlord on behalf of the tenant
Landlords must register tenancies with the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB).
- Tenancies are governed by the Residential Tenancies Act 2004 (pdf)Properties for rent must meet minimum physical standards as outlined in the Housing (Standards for Rented Houses) Regulations 2008 (pdf) . A further set of regulations, the Housing (Standards for Rented Houses) (Amendment) Regulations 2009 (pdf) came into effect on 1 December 2009. Deposits are not paid by the tenant since the local authority will honour any claims in respect of damages above and beyond normal wear and tear, to the maximum of one months rent.
Further information is available on the website of the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government, including an explanatory leaflet for landlords (pdf) and a list of RAS contacts in local authorities
How do I apply for The Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS) - as a tenant?
In order to qualify for RAS, applicants must be in receipt of Rent Supplement normally for more than 18 months and must be approved on the housing waiting list with Galway City Council. Contact the Housing Dept for further information in relation to your application - Tel. 091-894370 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday, or call to the Housing Public Counter at City Hall, College Road, Galway between the hours of 9:30am and 1:00pm, Monday to Friday.
How does RAS operate?
RAS involves a three-way relationship between the Landlord, the Tenant and the Local Authority.
The form of the Contract entered into will set out the general responsibilities of all three parties.
How does RAS benefit me - as a tenant?
The RAS will give you long-term housing security. The RAS will also lead to improvements in the quality and standards of private rented accommodation. If you get a job you can stay in the scheme but you will have to contribute more towards the rent. If any of your income details change your rent will be recalculated. Rental payments are due to Galway City Council rather than the Landlord and can be facilitated by standing order or budget deduction from a social welfare payment.
How much rent does a tenant on RAS pay?
The rental amount paid by the tenant is based on the income for their household. The amount of rent is calculated using a differential rents scheme. 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.
If your income or the income of anyone in your household changes, you must inform the local authority.
Do I have to pay a Deposit to my Landlord under RAS?
You do not have to pay a deposit to your Landlord when on RAS. However a non-refundable tenancy fee of €200.00 is payable to Galway City Council.
Will I have to move to new accommodation if I wish to apply for RAS?
Provided that your existing accommodation in which you live meets the current rental standards and provided that your landlord will engage in the scheme you can remain in your current accommodation. Efforts will be made to sign contracts with your existing landlord.
If your accommodation is sub-standard and/or your landlord is not willing to engage with the Scheme you will be advised in the first instance to source alternative accommodation.
Can I refuse an offer of accommodation under RAS?
An offer of accommodation is deemed to be a reasonable offer if the proposed accommodation is suitable to the housing needs of the applicant, and in the area of choice specified by them. If you are offered accommodation under the RAS scheme, you can refuse it. However, if you refuse two offers of social housing within a twelve-month period your housing application will be suspended for a period of 12 months. The Community Welfare Officer will be notified and they may suspend your rent supplement. You will not be eligible for any further offers of accommodation for a period of at least one year.
Who should I contact if I have a maintenance issue and I am a RAS tenant?
Your Landlord is responsible for Routine Maintenance and Repair or Replacement of Equipment. Therefore you should contact your landlord.
What should I do if my RAS Landlord is not fulfilling his duties?
If your Landlord is not complying with the terms of the Tenancy Agreement, you should direct your complaints to the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB) .
I am in RAS in another county and I want to move to Galway City, how do I apply?
Galway City Council does not have a transfer facility for moving between local authority areas. However if you have a need to move to Galway you must submit a housing application for assessment with full supporting documentation outlining the basis of the need for accommodation in the city.
View our FAQ on 'How to Apply for Social Housing'
What happens if my RAS Landlord serves me notice to leave the property?
Should your Landlord decide to take the property off the scheme, alternative accommodation will be sought as long as you have not contributed to your own eviction by breaching your tenancy obligations.