The independent TDs who voted with the Government to defeat the attempt by Sinn Fein to extend the eviction ban may think that they have secured a victory by getting rent exempt from a contribution to care under the FD for residents of Nursing Homes. This is due to theirs and the Governments ignorance of people in care, the workings of the fair deal and as to why rental will remain an unattractive option for Nursing Home Residents and their families and certainly will not result in a flood of properties to the rental market.
I agree with Minister Butler’s concerns regarding the welfare of older persons who may be accelerated into long term care and the fair deal scheme for the wrong reasons. Using vulnerable older persons as political pawns disgusts me and shows how low Politicians will go to achieve short term gains.
Families of residents who may think they are going to gain financially due to the change will soon find out that such gains are short lived.
From our experience as Ireland’s leading advisers on the Fair Deal and long term care, we know that most of our clients spend as little as 2.5 years in care and many have to take out the Nursing Home loan to help fund it which will not change with this amendment to the scheme.
The harsh reality will hit when tenants have to be issued with a minimum 12- month contract and then due to changes protecting tenants they will be entitled to 180 days- notice. While this may be fine in normal circumstances if the resident in the Nursing Home pass’s their estate will have 12 months to repay their Nursing Home loan or else will face punitive interest charges on the sum owing. It may not be possible to get the tenant to vacate within that timeline (even if they co-operate) which will delay the sale of the house, the repayment of the Nursing Home loan, and ultimately the distribution, of the estate.
In addition to the above many homes belonging to Residents in Nursing Homes will have to be updated to ensure they meet the legal minimum safety standard requirements and will have to be registered with the RTB and a family member will have to take on the role of the landlord and deal with any problems as they arise. Many of our client’s don’t have these funds to pay for the refurbishments so their homes will not be rentable.
Taxation on the rent will be payable although depending on the income most of this should be offset by tax credits on the Nursing Home fees.
So, will residents and their families knowing the above rush to rent out their homes? I think not. It is very sad to see the most vulnerable members of society being used as political pawns.
This proposed change will take time and as the Fair Deal is governed by legislation will have to through the Dáil, votes etc to be enacted. Earliest I expect this change to be in place will be October 2023.
If you need advice on the Fair Deal and what to do with a Nursing Home Resident’s Home, please contact me @ firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website www.fairdealadvice.ie.
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