Local Authority Housing
Local authority / Social housing has traditionally been the main option for those who cannot afford housing from their own resources. While other housing options have been introduced in recent years, local authorities remain the main providers of social housing, making available a range of rented housing to meet a variety of accommodation needs.
Galway County Council has its own Housing Construction Programme, and details of proposed housing schemes over the coming years can be checked in the “ Housing Progress Report ”.
Do I qualify?
If you are in need of housing and unable to provide it from your own resources, you may apply for Local Authority housing, by completing and submitting the Local Authority Housing Application Form.
The income limits applicable to social housing are as follows:
- Maximum income threshold for single person applying to Galway County Council is €25,000.
- Maximum income threshold for household applying to Galway County Council is €30,000 (this is the single person allowance with an additional 5% for each adult (max 10%) and 2.5% for each child (max 10%)).
How do I apply?
You can obtain an application form for Local Authority housing by:
- Downloading it from the link above
- Requesting it in person or by post from the Housing Department, Galway County Council, Aras an Chontae, Prospect Hill, Galway.
- Telephoning the Housing Department at 091 509300
The Application Form cannot be completed and submitted on-line, as it must be checked and stamped by various public agencies, and must be submitted together with all required supporting documentation which is set out on the page entitled “Checklist”. If any of this supporting documentation is outstanding, or the Application Form is incomplete, your housing application will be deemed invalid and will be returned to you.
The date of receipt of your application will be the date on which all the required information has been submitted. Once a completed application is received, it will be assessed for eligibility. If the applicant is deemed ineligible, this decision will be notified in writing setting out the reason for same.
All eligible applications are fully assessed by a Housing Liaison Officer, who will visit the applicant to fully investigate the circumstances of their application. Once this assessment has been carried out on your housing application, you will be notified in writing. You are required to notify us of any change in your circumstances for example change of address, family size, income, etc., so that we can keep your file up-to-date.
If you are accepted as being in need of housing, you are placed on the Councils Housing Waiting List, and will be considered for housing in your area of preference, having regard to the priority of your application. You should bear in mind that your priority on the housing list may go up or down, as your circumstances, and those of other applicants, change. Galway County Council does not operate a points-based system for allocation of its houses, which are instead allocated on a priority basis, having regard to our policy as set down in the Allocation Scheme.
Should you refuse two offers of hosing within a twelve month period your application will be suspended for twelve months.
Should you refuse two offers of housing within a twelve month period your application will be suspended for twelve months.
The Council employ a Traveller Liaison Officer & 3 Social Workers, who are available to assist Travellers in relation to their housing needs.
Tenancy of Local Authority house
Tenants of rented Council dwellings pay rent which is calculated based on the Housing Differential Rent Scheme. This means that the rent is based on ability to pay, so if income is low, rent will be low; and if income increases, so will the rent. The income of any other members of the household will be added to the rent calculation and there may be deductions for any children in the family.
At the Annual Rent Assessment, each tenant is requested to submit up-to-date details of their income to enable their rent to be re-assessed. Failure to comply with this Assessment means that the tenant is placed on the maximum weekly rent. If the circumstances or make-up of a household change at any time during the year, the tenant must notify the Housing Unit so that any required adjustments to rent can be made. Failure to keep rent payments up-to-date may result in legal action and ultimately, eviction from the dwelling. Rent may be paid by any of the following methods:
- by Standing Order
- by Direct Debit
- by Household Budget
- to the Revenue Collector
- at the Income Section of Galway County Council Headquarters
Responsibility for the maintenance of rented Council dwellings is shared between the Council and the Tenant. Generally, the Council is responsible for maintenance of the structure of the house, while the tenant is responsible for all internal fixtures, fittings and materials. Prior to reporting maintenance issues, the Tenant is advised to consult the full listing of the breakdown of maintenance responsibilities provided in the Tenants Handbook. Maintenance issues reported to the Council are categorised as emergency or routine and are prioritised for action on this basis.
Where a tenant has been in their rented dwelling for at least 2 years, and subject to satisfying other eligibility conditions, they may apply for a transfer from their current dwelling. There are strict criteria set down in the Scheme of Letting Priorities regarding eligibility for a transfer – generally, a tenant will only be eligible if applying on the grounds of over-crowding, down-sizing, or medical/compassionate grounds. Other conditions must be met, such as the tenant having a clear rent account, and good tenancy record. A tenant may apply by requesting an application form from the Housing Unit, which will then be assessed by the Housing Liaison Officer and Housing Officer, and a decision notified in writing.
Maintenance of Council Houses
If you are a tenant of a local authority house you are obliged to maintain certain elements of the house (e.g. broken window panes). The repair of some elements is the responsibility of the Council, you can request such a repair using our Request Repair form.
Purchasing your council house
Yes. If you are a tenant of a local authority house for at least one year, you may apply to the local authority to purchase it at a discounted price. If you are buying outright and you cannot obtain a loan from a Bank or Building Society you may qualify for a Local Authority loan.
House and estate management
Galway County Council owns and manages over 1,800 properties throughout various areas of the county. These houses may be located in various size estates in towns and villages, or may be single houses in a rural area. The Council recognises that it has a duty of care to promote the peaceful occupation of all our dwellings. In this regard, the Council aims to achieve its role as Landlord by ensuring tenants abide by the Tenancy Agreement which they sign, and by exercising its statutory powers to deal with any instances of Anti-Social Behaviour.
Estate Management is primarily about making local authority estates better places to live in. The Council employs 4 Housing Liaison Officers (HLO’s) who each deal with their own designated area of the county, and carry out a range of services;
- Advice to Tenants on all details of their tenancy and house management
- Development of Residents Associations
- Assist in problems which may occur in estates
- Investigate complaints of anti-social behaviour
The Council encourages and facilitates the formation of Residents Associations, and where problems in estates are reported through the Residents Association or otherwise, the Council will also utilise all legislative means available, and a multi-agency approach with the Gardai Siochana and HSE, to combat any instances of anti-social behaviour. Complaints regarding the conduct of Council tenants may be made by any individual or group on the official complaint form, which can be obtained by telephoning the Housing Unit at 091 509300. All reported incidents are dealt in confidence and investigated in a fair, impartial and objective manner.
Local Authorities and Housing Associations in Ireland have specific powers to evict anyone who is engaging in anti-social behaviour, i.e. involved in drug dealing or any behaviour that might cause danger, injury, damage or fear to people living in the area. This may include violence, threats, intimidation or harassment. The Council can also refuse to let a dwelling or sell one under the tenant purchase scheme on the grounds of anti-social behaviour. Health Boards may refuse or withdraw rent supplement for a private rented dwelling where the person in question was evicted, excluded or removed from local authority housing on the grounds of anti-social behaviour.
The Council provides and manages both standard and specialist accommodation for travellers. A five year programme for the provision of accommodation for travellers is in place which sets out the targets for provision of various forms of accommodation such as the following:
- Standard accommodation in local authority houses
- Group Housing which allows for the accommodation of a number of Traveller Families at the one location in small estates.
- Serviced Halting Sites - where Traveller’s caravans/mobile homes can be accommodated in bays which have serviced units.
The Council employ a Traveller Liaison Officer & 3 Social Workers who are available to assist Travellers in relation to their housing needs.
Persons who have no accommodation available to them and persons living in night shelters etc. solely because they have no other accommodation may be regarded as homeless by the Council where they are unable to provide accommodation from their own resources.
Provision of accommodation, depending upon whether the need is for long term, short term, transitional or emergency accommodation, may take any of the following forms by the Council:
- Hostel-type accommodation provided by voluntary bodies / agencies
- Emergency Bed & Breakfast accommodation in the private sector
- Specialist accommodation for victims of domestic violence
- Provision of short-term accommodation pending securing of private-rented accommodation, with assistance of Supplementary Welfare Allowance
- Long-term accommodation in Rental Accommodation Scheme, following assessment of application
- Long-term accommodation in local authority housing, following assessment of application
Persons who are homeless, or are in danger of becoming homeless, should telephone the Housing Department at 091-509300, or call into the Council, for assessment of the most appropriate means of assistance in their case.
The following contacts may also be useful to persons seeking accommodation:
Cope – www.cope.ie
Cope are a Galway Charity who provide 3 sectors of social services in Galway City & County. They include:
- Emergency accommodation and support services for people who are homeless
- A refuge and outreach services for women and children who experience domestic violence
- Senior Support Services, which include Community Catering and a day center for older people
Threshold – www.threshold.ie
Threshold is a not-for-profit organisation whose aim is to secure a right for housing, particularly for households experiencing the problems of poverty and exclusion. On Wednesday afternoons, an Accommodation Seeking service is provided for those seeking private-rented accommodation. An appointment for this service can be made by telephoning 091 563080 or calling into the office at Augustine House.
Cuan Mhuire – www.cuanmhuire.ie
Cuan Mhuire operates a centre at Coolarne, Athenry, Co. Galway. The centre offers a comprehensive, structured, abstinence-based, residential programme to persons suffering from alcohol, other chemical dependencies and gambling.