Nursing home residents will be able to keep all rental income under Fair Deal reform

Planned changes to care scheme seeks to ‘incentivise the selling or renting of unused homes’

Nursing home residents will be able to keep all their income from renting out their family home while living in care under a planned reform of the Fair Deal scheme that seeks to unlock further housing for the rental market.

The Coalition has signalled it will eliminate the policy that sees people in nursing homes pay 40 per cent of the rental income from their main home towards the cost of the care, reducing it to zero.

The plan, aimed at “enhancing the Fair Deal scheme to incentivise the selling or renting of unused homes”, is contained in a Government statement ahead of Wednesday’s Dáil vote on ending the eviction ban.

Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien said it is estimated between 4,000 and 8,000 properties were vacant “because people are in long term care”. The Government was seeking to use “every lever that we can use to provide additional supply, both new or bringing existing stock back in to use”, he said.


Asked on RTÉ Radio’s News at One would the measure be introduced in a matter of weeks, Mr O’Brien said: “Yes. Very quickly.”

It comes after Sinn Féin tabled a motion in the Dáil seeking to extend the eviction ban until 2024, in a move which has put pressure on the Coalition as it attempts to shore up backbench and Independent votes. Following discussions with members of the Regional Independent Group (RIG), the Coalition published a countermotion on Tuesday evening which will be put before the Dáil.

The countermotion includes a promised reform of the Fair Deal Scheme to eliminate barriers to nursing home residents who wish to rent out their homes.

The RIG has asked for such barriers to be removed from May 1st. However, the Government motion does not set out a timescale.

The Coalition said it would reform the Fair Deal scheme so there were “reduced disincentives to renting out and selling a home vacated when its owner enters a nursing home including a disregard of 60 per cent (rather than the previous 20 per cent) of any rental income derived from the principal private residence (PPR) and a 3-year cap on contributions on the sale of a home”.

The Government added it would “further move to eliminate remaining barriers to older people utilising the Fair Deal scheme who wish to rent out their homes”.

The plan is part of a package of measures the Government says it will introduce for the rental sector that will include both taxation and expenditure measures.

Jack Horgan-Jones

Jack Horgan-Jones

Jack Horgan-Jones is a political reporter with The Irish Times

Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn is a Political Correspondent at The Irish Times