Tuesday, 3 February 2004

Questions (31)

Paul Nicholas Gogarty


157 Mr. Gogarty asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the figure for the resultant increase in the number of individuals seeking housing from local authorities, or seeking rent supplement from the State, by reason of the fact that the number of housing tenants in rent protected private rented sector dwelling has fallen dramatically in recent years, and that there are no longer any rights to a succession of tenancy at reduced rent for family members. [2967/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government)

The Housing (Private Rented Dwellings) Act 1982 confers a right to retain possession, as a tenant, of a formerly rent controlled dwelling for the lifetime of the person who was the tenant at the commencement of the Act — 26 July 1982 — and for the lifetime of their spouse. Where a member or successor members of the tenant's family succeed to the tenancy within 20 years of the commencement of the Act, the right to retain possession as a tenant under the 1982 Act continues to 25 July 2002, or until the tenancy has lasted a minimum of five years.

Once protection for successor tenants ceases under the 1982 Act, I am advised that they may be entitled to claim a long occupation lease of up to 35 years under Part II of the Landlord and Tenant (Amendment) Act 1980. Where the landlord is unwilling to grant a long occupation lease or seeks an increase in rent, the tenant may apply to the Circuit Court to determine their entitlement and also to have the rent and other tenancy terms set. Where the rent has been set by the Circuit Court, the tenant-lessee is eligible for the means tested rent allowance scheme operated by the Department of Social and Family Affairs.

My Department has no information which would suggest that successor tenants who no longer enjoy the protection of the 1982 Act are applying for social housing or are seeking rent supplement from the Department of Social and Family Affairs.