Covid-19 restrictions have hampered efforts to tackle rent arrears of €36 million owed by Dublin City Council tenants, according to a new report.

House calls by Executive Housing Officers were suspended during the restrictions in March, and the report stated "the lack of visibility in the community was a contributory factor in the rise of rent arrears".

These house calls have again been suspended due to Level 5 restrictions and tenancy warning letters are not being sent because of the moratorium on evictions.

Current arrears of €36 million compare to €33 million last year and €28 million in 2018.

There are 28 cases being brought by the council for possession of tenancies due in court at the end of November but these are expected to be adjourned. There was one eviction for non payment of rent last year and one in 2018.

The report by Tara Robertson of the Housing Rent Section says there are 24,800 tenancies in total with 60% of these in arrears but most of these involve less than €500.

However the there are 37 tenancies owing more that €27,000 each in rent.

Most of the money owed - more than €23 million - has been in arrears for more than a year.

And a total of 390 households with income in excess of €1,500 a week owe a total of €2.6 million.

Tenants pay rent according to the income they receive with the minimum for those on social welfare being  €25.65 a week and the maximum being charged is €265.87 a week.

The report states that non-declaration of increased household income is one of the main causes of rent arrears because the council will backdate rent liability when this is discovered.

"While some local authorities do not apply retrospective debits, Dublin City Council considers the application of retrospective debits to be equitable to all tenants," it states.

Under a new arrangement with the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, councils will have access to a tenant's actual income which will lead to a better calculation of tenants income from next year.

Tenants can be assessed as having 'assumed income' which can lead to overcharging as there 9,665 tenancies - around 40% of the total - who are now in credit.