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 enter into an agreement with landlords to provide housing for people with a long-term housing need. The local authority pays the rent directly to the landlord. Tenants pay their rent to 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 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) .
I am a landlord. How do I apply for RAS?
If you are a landlord and you wish to apply for RAS, you must provide the following documents:
- Submit an Expression of Interest Form
- Provide confirmation from a Bonded Chartered Engineer or Surveyor that the property complies with the relevant Fire Safety Certificate, Planning and Building Regulations
- A Building Energy Rating (BER) Certificate
- The property must comply with the Housing (Standard for Rented Houses) Regulations 2008 and Amended Regulations 2009 and the Relevant Planning & Building Regulations. It is the responsibility of the Landlord to maintain the property in accordance with these regulations at all times. This legislation specifies requirements in relation to a range of matters in rented accommodation such as structural repair, sanitary facilities, heating, ventilation, light and the safety of gas and electrical supply. Visit www.environ.ie for further information in relation to minimum standards in rented accomodation.
- Once approved, the tenancy must be registered with the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB).
- Confirmation of up-to-date payment of NPPR, Household Charge and Local Property Tax
- A Tax Clearance Certificate
How does RAS operate?
RAS involves a three-way relationship between the Landlord, the Tenant and the Local Authority.
The Tenancy Agreement will set out the general responsibilities of all three parties.
What type of RAS contract is available?
The type of RAS contract currently offered by Galway City Council is as follows:
A tenancy-by-tenancy arrangement to meet a tenant's accommodation requirements - When the tenant leaves the contract ends. This remains in place for the duration of this specific tenancy and ceases if that tenant moves out.
The tenant will sign a residential tenancy agreement with the landlord. The Local Authority will be party to this agreement as guarantor of the rent.
The Residential Tenancies Act, 2004 , governs the contract.
How is the amount of RAS rent, paid to the landlord, calculated?
Rents paid by Galway City Council are based on the property size and the prevailing market rates. The rent paid will also reflect the security of having rent guaranteed by Galway City Council and paid in advance to your bank account at the start of each month. As tenancies tend to be of a longer nature you will save on the change of tenancy works, advertising expenses and loss of income during vacant periods.
What are the responsibilities of a RAS Landlord?
The key "landlord and tenant" relationship remains between landlord and the tenant. As such, the landlord retains responsibility for matters such as:
- Routine Maintenance/ Repair and Replacement of Equipment
- Dealing with breaches of tenant's obligations
- Payment of the management company service charges (if any) and other charges such as NPPR, Household Charge and Local Property Tax.
What are the benefits of the RAS for Landlords?
- Guaranteed income stream for the duration of the Agreement
- Rent is paid directly by the Local Authority eliminating collection costs for the landlord
- Long-term tenancies avoiding vacancies and change of tenancy costs
Is a deposit paid to the landlord when the tenancy commences?
The tenant does not pay a deposit to the landlord, however, in the event that damage is caused to your property above normal wear and tear, Galway City Council will guarantee the equivalent of up to one months' rent towards the cost of repair/ replacement. This is subject to receipts and photographic evidence of the damage being provided.
How is RAS rent paid to the landlord?
Rent is paid monthly in advance by direct lodgements to your nominated bank account.
What is a Building Energy Rating (BER) Certificate?
A Building Energy Rating (BER) Certificate is an indication of the energy performance of a home. The rating is similar to the energy label on your fridge and is denoted on a scale of A to G, with A1 being the most energy efficient and G being the least energy efficient, a full breakdown of the scale is also available. A BER is accompanied by an Advisory Report, which identifies how you might improve the energy performance of your property.
BER assessments are completed by registered BER Assessors who have been trained under the National Framework of Qualifications, passed the The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) BER Assessor exam and have registered with The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland.
Can I opt out of the RAS due to unforeseen circumstances or if I wish to sell the property?
Any termination of tenancy must be carried out in accordance with the established procedures set-out in the Residential Tenancies Act, 2004. Appropriate notice is required to be given.
How do I register a RAS tenancy with the PRTB (Private Residential Tenancies Board)??
You can register with the PRTB online at www.prtb.ie
If there is a Landlord/ Tenant dispute, whom should I contact?
You should contact the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB) on 0818 30 30 37