Rob CallisterDOI responds to call from Onchan MHK

The Department of Infrastructure says it acknowledges the need for a review of income thresholds for public sector housing.

It follows calls from Onchan MHK Rob Callister for the limit to change, saying the amount you can earn before being unable to qualify has been set too low.

The DOI says income thresholds were increased by 14.5% on 1 July 2023, to take into account the rising cost of living.

The last time they’d been reviewed, before then, was in 2019.

It says these changes were reflected in updated Fixed Term Tenancy Guidelines coming into effect from that date, and resulted in the department and all Local Authorities recalculating rents for tenants, and where the changes resulted in a decrease to their rent charge.

On examples provided by Mr Callister, the department says it appeared the version of the guidelines he’s referring to is the version in place prior to those changes being brought in.

That said, it acknowledges it was only intended as a temporary and quick fix and there is need for a wider and more intensive review of the legislation that sets out the eligibility criteria and the way in which tenants are allocated to housing.

The Department says it has ‘commenced work on that review and is actively engaging with the Local Authority housing providers through a series of workshops on proposals to reform the policy, before beginning to draft legislation and formally consult both with the public and Local Authorities.’

In response, Mr Callister told Manx Radio he doesn’t believe the department is correct when it states he used the wrong information, and believes his open letter is factually accurate.