Tuesday, 26 February 2019
Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government
Local Authority Housing Eligibility
647. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government the reason local authorities are not provided with discretion on eligibility for those marginally above the income threshold when applying for social housing or applying for HAP; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9589/19]
For the purpose of assessing households under the income eligibility criteria and to ensure consistency in approach, the Social Housing Assessment Regulations 2011 prescribe maximum net income limits for each local authority, in different bands according to the area concerned, with income being defined and assessed according to a standard Household Means Policy. The 2011 Regulations do not provide local authorities with any discretion to exceed the limits that apply to their administrative areas.
The income bands and the authority area assigned to each band were based on an assessment of the income needed to provide for a household's basic needs, plus a comparative analysis of the local rental cost of housing accommodation across the country. It is important to note that the limits introduced at that time also reflected a blanket increase of €5,000 introduced prior to the new system coming into operation, in order to broaden the base from which social housing tenants are drawn, both promoting sustainable communities and also providing a degree of future-proofing.
As part of the broader social housing reform agenda, a review of income eligibility for social housing supports in each local authority area is underway. The Housing Agency is carrying out the detailed statistical work, which will underpin this review, on behalf of my Department.
The review will also have regard to current initiatives being brought forward in terms of affordability and cost rental and will be completed when the impacts of these parallel initiatives have been considered.