Tuesday, 29 November 2016
Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government
Rental Accommodation Scheme Administration
302. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government his views on a rental accommodation scheme whereby contracts are offered on a month-to-month tenancy (details supplied). [37615/16]
The Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS) involves a three way contractual relationship between the landlord, the tenant and the housing authority. There are two types of contractual arrangements which may be entered into between landlords, housing authorities and tenants under the Scheme - one is known as a Tenancy by Tenancy agreement and the other is known as an Availability Agreement.
Under the Tenancy by Tenancy arrangement a Residential Tenancy agreement is completed by the landlord, the housing authority and the tenant. In this specific arrangement, there is no on-going availability agreement between the landlord and the housing authority - the arrangement continues to exist for as long as the existing tenant resides in the property. However, the tenancy contract between the landlord and the tenant is subject to the provisions and protections of the Residential Tenancies Act and can therefore endure for an unrestricted period. When the tenant leaves the property the contractual relationship between the landlord and the local authority comes to an end.
Under the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009 all tenants who are allocated RAS accommodation after 1 April 2011 are deemed to have their housing need met and will no longer remain on the main social housing waiting list. However, it is recommended that local authority allocation schemes provide a “transfer pathway” for RAS tenants, where RAS households can apply to transfer to other forms of social housing support, and many tenants have availed of the transfer option and have moved on to other forms of social housing support.
Local authorities apply the same differential rent scheme to all of their tenants regardless of whether the property provided is owned by the local authority, or secured for social housing use under other arrangements such as a long term lease or rental accommodation agreements. When a tenant’s income increases due to increased level of employment, including full-time employment, their differential rent will increase in accordance with the local authority’s rent scheme. While differential rent can exceed market rent for high income households under some local authorities’ rent schemes, an increase in a tenant’s income has no direct effect on their tenancy arrangement. In such a case, it is open to the tenant to leave local authority housing and find alternative housing in the private market; however, this is a matter for the tenant and they are under no onus to do so.
Similarly, when a RAS tenancy ends and the landlord does not wish to renew the tenancy agreement, the household remains a local authority tenant and the onus is on the local authority to find alternative accommodation for them.