The armed robbery of a rent collector in Larchville two years ago was one of the mitigating factors in Waterford City Council’s decision to cease its door to door rent collection system in its own estates.
The familiar sight of rent collectors going from door to door in local authority housing estates was phased out by the Council last month, in what Director of Services Lar Power said was a move to rationalise the service. At Monday night’s monthly meeting of the local authority, Mr Power said the Council opted to end its practice of collecting rent within the estates ‘in the interests of the health and safety of our staff’.
Particular concerns were raised when a Council rent collector was robbed by a man brandishing what appeared to be a hand-gun as he went about his duties in the Larchville housing estate in 2007.
Mr Power estimated that only about 30% of the total rents are collected at the door, with another 30% of the rents brought by tenants to the Council’s cash office and the remainder paid through direct debits and standing orders. “It was not a sustainable practice for the future”, he added.
Responding to suggestions from a number of councillors, Mr Power said the Council would investigate the possibility of providing a rent payment card system, though local shops. Other alternatives for paying weekly rent in the future include payment by bank or credit union direct debit or standing order, via An Post deduction, if you are in receipt of a Social Welfare Benefit, through the Council’s Website, by logging on to www.waterfordcity.ie, to Waterford City Council Cash Office or over the telephone by laser card.