According to a new regulation signed by Minister of Social Affairs Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir yesterday, the housing benefits for rental apartments in Iceland will increase by nearly 50 percent on average, effective as of April 1, 2008.
This is the first time in eight years that housing benefits have increased, Fréttabladid reports.
Basic housing benefits will increase from a monthly sum of ISK 8,000 (USD 111, EUR 71) to ISK 13,500 (USD 187, EUR 119).
Additional benefits for those who have one dependant increase from ISK 7,000 (USD 97, EUR 62) to ISK 14,000 (USD 194, EUR 124) and of those who have two or more dependants from ISK 6,000 (USD 83, EUR 83) to ISK 8,500 (USD 118, EUR 75).
After this change the maximum monthly housing benefits per tenant can amount to ISK 46,000 (USD 639, EUR 406) instead of ISK 31,000 (USD 430, EUR 274), which is an increase of up to 48 percent.
This is also the first time that the national government has interceded in the payment of housing benefits, which was previously a matter of the of local authorities.
The additional annual cost because of this amendment is expected to reach ISK 720 million (USD 10 million, EUR 6 million), of which the state treasury will pay 60 percent and the local authorities, 40 percent.