Taiwan to expand rent subsidy plan

TAIPEI (CNA) — The government is set to announce in July an expanded housing rent subsidy program for the fiscal year which raises the quota of successful applicants from 60,000 to 120,000 and relaxes eligibility criteria for housing assistance, the Ministry of the Interior (MOI) said Thursday.

Over the past few years, employed applicants for rent subsidies have been required to have their household registered in the city or county where the rented residence is located, which meant employed tenants from other localities were ineligible for rent subsidies, the ministry said in a statement.

From last year, a portion of the quota was made available for employees from other localities and this year, the household eligibility regulations will be further relaxed, it added.

As long as de facto rent exists, employed tenants can apply for government housing assistance regardless of whether their household is registered with the city or county that has jurisdiction over their rented residence.

The new scheme will enable an employed tenant with household registration in Tainan to work in Taipei, rent a house in New Taipei and apply for a rent subsidy there, according to the ministry.

The original subsidy program which targeted low and middle-income households will also be expanded to cover more people this year by loosening the eligibility terms to allow office workers who earn an average monthly income of less than 2.5 times the lowest monthly living index income level in their city or county of residence to apply for the subsidies, up from 1.5 times in the old scheme.

Taking New Taipei as an example, singles and couples with or without children, who earn less than NT$38,750 (US$1309) per month on average will be eligible to apply for a rent subsidy, up from NT$23,250 in the original scheme, the MOI said.

Successful applicants will receive a monthly subsidy ranging from NT$2,600 to NT$5,000 depending on city or county of residence, according to the MOI.