Joint Committee on
Environment, Culture and the Gaeltacht


Public Consultation on the
Housing
(Regulation of Approved Housing Bodies)
Bill 2015

The Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government sent the draft bill to the Joint Committee.

The Joint Committee decided to carry out a pre legislative scrutiny of the draft bill, and as part of this process carried out a public consultation and also be talked to stakeholders.

Tuesday 2 February 2016:


Questions

You are invited to read the general scheme of the bill and other documents below and comment on all or any of the following questions.

You may also make any other observations that you think are relevant.

  1. Is there a need for Approved Housing Bodies Regulator?
  2. The General Scheme provides for the appointment of an Approved Housing Bodies Regulator. Who is best placed to take on such a role?
  3. Should housing authorities be subject to some form of oversight by the Regulator in their provision of social housing?
  4. Less than half of all Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs) in Ireland signed up for voluntary regulation. Why?
  5. Could mandatory regulation result in smaller, more locally based AHBs leaving the sector?
  6. Head 11 proposes placing a number of obligations on AHBs, including a restriction on their right to dispose of assets valued in excess of €10,000 without the consent of the Regulator. Head 26 also provides that the Regulator may give or refuse to give consent to the disposal of assets by an AHB. Is this interference in the financial/business affairs of an AHB justified?  If so, is the current level of €10,000 proportionate? Do these provisions give rise to any constitutional issues?
  7. Are the proposed powers of the Regulator as set out in Head 12 justified and proportionate?
  8. Are the proposed powers of inquiry, investigation, assessment, intervention and enforcement proportionate?
  9. It is intended that the Regulator will have a role in the protection of the assets of AHBs, including applying to the High Court in certain circumstances for orders directing that the consent of the Regulator must be obtained before:
    1. an AHB undertakes particular transactions or makes payments of a particular nature or amount;
      or   
    2. a bank/other person disposes of money/securities/assets held on behalf of an AHB.
  10. Head 27 also provides that in certain circumstances the Regulator may apply to the High Court for an order directing an AHB to transfer some or all of its assets to another AHB. What, if any impact will the proposed provisions have for AHBs and the social housing sector?
  11. The General Scheme proposes creating a number of offences for failure to comply with the provisions of the Act. Are the proposed offences and penalties justified and/or proportionate?
  12. Given the essential role of AHBs in supporting the delivery of the Social Housing Strategy 2020, what, if any, impact will the proposed measures in the General Scheme have on the provision of social housing in Ireland by such bodies?

You may also wish to comment on the heads of the bill.


Hearings


 

8 December 2015 Full Text of the Official Report of the Parliamentary Debate | Video

Official Bodies
The Housing Agency:

Ms Rosalind Carroll, head of regulation;

Ms Sophie Geraghty, financial regulation manager.

Housing Finance Agency:

Mr. Barry O'Leary, chief executive officer;

Mr. Seán Cremin, head of treasury.


15 December 2015: Full Text of the Official report of the Parliamentary Debate | Video

Official Body
Department of the Environment, Community and Local Governmen, Housing Division:

Mr. Damian Allen, principal;

Ms Sheila Power;

Mr. Andrew Harkin.

Representative Bodies
Irish Council for Social Housing:

Mr. Donal McManus, chief executive officer;

Ms Karen Murphy, director of policy;

Mr. Justin O’Brien, president.

Co-operative Housing Ireland

Mr. Kieron Brennan, chief executive;

Mr. Dermot Sellars.


Relevant Documents


The following documents are provided for your information.

General Scheme of the Housing (Regulation of Approved Bodies) Bill 2015

  1. Letter from Minister re Pre Legislative Scrutiny of Housing Bill Page 1
  2. Letter from Minister re Pre Legislative Scrutiny of Housing Bill Page 2
  3. Letter from Minister re Pre Legislative Scrutiny of Housing Bill (PDF)
  4. General Scheme of the Housing (Regulation of Approved Bodies) Bill 2015

Other useful documents / Websites

  1. Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government
    1. Voluntary & Co-operative Housing
    2. Building for the Future - A Voluntary Regulation Code for Approved Housing Bodies in Ireland (pdf, 839kb)
    3. Construction 2020
    4. Social Housing Strategy 2020
    5. Housing Policy Statement - June 2011
  2. Other official bodies
    1. The Housing Agency
    2. The Housing Finance Agency
    3. The Private Residential Tenancies Board
    4. The National Economic and Social Council
    5. Local Authorities, e.g. Dublin City Council
  3. Representative and Advocacy Groups
    1. Irish Council for Social Housing
    2. National Association of Building Co-operatives
    3. Focus Ireland
    4. Simon Community
    5. Habitat Ireland
  4. Approved Housing Bodies
    1. Respond
    2. Clúid
    3. Register of Approved Housing Bodies (xls, 134kb)

Making Submissions

Written submissions and communications should be sent by email.

Submissions should be received not later than the closing date below at the following email address: housing.bodies@oireachtas.ie or by post to the address below.

The Committee will consider any suitable written submissions received and may decide to invite a number of contributors to public hearings should it be considered necessary.

Submissions and communications should only be sent to the email address above and not to individual members of the Committee.

Please note that the Clerk will ensure that all members of the Committee receive, in due course, copies of all submissions and communications received.


Format of Submissions

As a general guideline, submissions should consist of:

  • a covering letter (email or email attachment in MS Word or equivalent)
  • a main submission document (email or email attachment in MS Word or equivalent).

The covering letter should contain your name and contact details (phone number and postal address and, if available, an email address). If the submission is on behalf of an organisation, you should indicate your position in the organisation. If your submission is on behalf of another organisation, please make this clear in your letter.

The main submission document should contain the following information:

  1. Your name;
  2. A brief introduction, for example, explaining your area of expertise;
  3. Any factual information that you have to offer from which the Committee might be able to draw conclusions, or which could be put to other parties for their reactions;
  4. Any recommendations to the Committee which should be as specific as possible and should be summarised at the end of the document;
  5. An executive summary of the main points made in the submission, if your document is more than 10 pages long;
  6. Whether you would be prepared to appear at a public session of the committee.

Making a submission is a public process

The Committee is not obliged to accept your document once it has been submitted, nor is it obliged to publish any or all of the submissions if it has received or accepted.

However, the operation of a parliament is a public process, and you should be aware that any submissions made to a Committee may be published either as part of a Committee report, or separately, if the Committee decides to do so.


Closing Date

The closing date for receipt of submissions is extended to Monday 11 January 2016 at 3 p.m.

Late submissions will be circulated to the committee, but there is no guarantee that they will be taken into account when the committee is considering its report.


Committee Details

Membership of the Joint Committee
Contact Details for the Joint Committee
Making Submissions and Presentations to Oireachtas Committees
Facts about Committees

Queries

Should you have any queries in relation to this matter, please email  housing.bodies@oireachtas.ie or contact:

Leo Bollins
Clerk to the Joint Committee on Environment, Culture and the Gaeltacht
Houises of the Oireachtas
Leinster House
Dublin 2
D02 XR20
Ireland

01 618 3575