Council rents likely to rise in 2023

Local authority tenants in Offaly face a new rent review next year, with increased rents likely for many, it has emerged.

The council's draft budget, to be discussed at a meeting on Monday, reveals that a rent review of over 1,800 local authority tenancies will be carried out during 2023. A previous review occurred in 2021.

The review will be carried out in line with the rental scheme adopted by Offaly County Council last August.

The council said: “A very significant portion of the income estimated to be generated by this rent review has been reinvested in housing services for 2023.”

Rent reviews normally take place during the summer period Meanwhile, there will be no rates rise proposed this year, although the council executive admits that it did consider recommending a commercial rate increase. Instead, it noted that it was budgeting for a significant increase in rates income in 2023, through the upcoming commissioning of a “significant piece of national infrastructure”.

It said it was working closely with the Valuation Office to ensure that this infrastructure is valued for rates “in a timely manner”.

However, Head of Finance Mark Connolly said in the next few years, he believed an increase in the commercial rates multiplier will be required if the council is to maintain services.

He also expressed concern that future rates income in Offaly would be threatened by the decarbonisation agenda.

The council said it was in a period of unprecedented uncertainty with regard to energy inflation and rising interest rates on borrowings. Chief Executive Anna Marie Delaney noted that the council had provided an additional €500,000 for extra interest on loans for 2023.

She said an allocation, yet to be determined, from a national fund of €60m to assist local authorities with energy inflation, would allow Offaly continue to maintain service levels in 2023.

The draft budget also revealed that, for the third successive year, the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage is providing €1.7m in compensation for the loss of rates income from the closure of West Offaly Power Station.

Both Ms Delaney and Mr Connolly welcomed the funding but noted that a permanent solution for this loss of income would be required to ensure the “long term financial stability” of the council.

The council has also set aside €150,000 to offset loan repayments for the Arts Centre development in Tullamore Additional funding is also being proposed for country road maintenance (€169,000) and for housing services (€120,000). Additional funding has also been provided for climate action measures, as well as an allocation for cyber security measures.