Tuesday, 13 July 2021
Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government
363. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government the assistance his Department can provide to tenants who have been given notice to quit by their landlord but are unable to find alternative accommodation due to lack of available housing stock; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37895/21]
The focus of the Government is on preventing homelessness to the greatest extent possible. Budget 2021 reflects this commitment, with funding of €218m this year for homeless services provided by local authorities.A significant portion of expenditure incurred by housing authorities goes towards initiatives aimed at preventing households entering emergency accommodation.
In addition, the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) provides a flexible housing support to social housing eligible households. The HAP Placefinder service is a targeted support to assist homeless households to identity and secure a HAP-supported tenancy. The Placefinder service provides all local authorities with the option to pay a deposit and advance rental payment, where necessary, in order to secure a property.
In addition my Department provides funding towards Threshold, the housing charity, which provides advice and support to households living in private rented accommodation who are experiencing tenancy problems, including where a tenancy is at risk of termination. The Tenancy Protection Service operated by Threshold seeks to protect existing tenancies, keeping people in their home and prevent them from having to access homeless services.
It is also open to anyone to apply for social housing support, applications for which are assessed by the relevant local authority, in accordance with the eligibility and need criteria set down in section 20 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009 and the associated Social Housing Assessment Regulations 2011, as amended. To qualify for social housing support a household must meet all of the eligibility criteria, which primarily relate to income, availability of alternative accommodation and previous rent arrears.
Where a household is deemed to meet the eligibility criteria, only then is its housing need assessed under the criteria in Regulation 23 of the 2011 Regulations, having regard to its current accommodation. If a household meets the eligibility and need criteria, it qualifies for the suite of social housing supports, including HAP, and is placed on the housing list to be considered for the allocation of suitable tenancies in accordance with the authority’s allocation scheme.
Decisions on the qualification of specific persons for social housing support and the allocation of that support are a matter solely for the local authority concerned.
The Residential Tenancies Acts 2004-2021 regulate the landlord-tenant relationship in the private rented sector and sets out the rights and obligations of landlords and tenants. The Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) was established as an independent statutory body under the Acts to operate a national tenancy registration system and to resolve disputes between landlords and tenants. Comprehensive information including guidance and frequently asked questions documents in relation to tenancy terminations during the Covid-19 pandemic and on general tenancy matters is available on the RTB's website - www.rtb.ie. A tenant or a landlord may refer a matter to the RTB for its dispute resolution services.