Age Action, Ireland’s leading advocacy organisation for older people, has given a cautious welcome to reports that the Fair Deal scheme could be amended to encourage nursing home residents to rent out their homes.
Justin Moran, Head of Advocacy and Communications with Age Action, said: “We’re going to have to see the detail of the proposal from Minister Murphy but we would certainly welcome any change to Fair Deal that encouraged nursing home residents to rent out their homes by allowing them to retain the rental income.
“Currently, under Fair Deal, a nursing home resident must hand over 80 per cent of any income and we know this puts many off entering the rental market. A change like this would help them to pay the extra charges imposed by many nursing homes while also helping families struggling to find homes to rent."
But Age Action also warned that it was essential any change to the Fair Deal scheme needed to be about supporting older people who wished to rent out their homes and that attempts to put them under pressure would be unacceptable.
Justin Moran continued: “It’s important that any change must be an incentive that protects the choice of a nursing home resident to rent out their home.
"We would be worried if nursing home residents, already paying levies on their income, assets and family home, would also be targeted by any vacant property tax as they would simply be unable to afford it.”
Age Action will be writing to Minister Eoghan Murphy to seek clarity on the proposed changes.