Thursday, 12 July 2012

Questions (174)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

176 Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the guidance if any he has issued to housing authorities in relation to the allocation of social housing; if all such authorities are required to have a scheme of letting priorities; if the RAS scheme is applied when deciding on allocations; if a housing applicant is entitled to know the number of points that have been applied to their application; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34145/12]

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

Under Section 22 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009 all housing authorities are required to make an allocation scheme (in place of a scheme of letting priorities). The making and amendment of such an allocation scheme for social housing is a reserved function of the elected members of each housing authority. The Social Housing Allocation Regulations 2011, which commenced on 1 May 2011, set out the conditions that housing authorities must take into account when making their allocation schemes. Guidance on the making of allocation schemes and the terms of the legislation has issued both from my Department and the Housing Agency. This guidance is updated regularly and is available on the Housing Agency's website (www.housing.ie).

The 2009 Act gives legislative recognition to rental accommodation availability agreements as a form of social housing support. Therefore, in accordance with the legislation, allocations of RAS accommodation to applicants on the waiting list, who are in receipt of rent supplement, are provided for as part of the allocation scheme adopted by the housing authority. Section 22(7) of the Act allows for a rent supplement tenant/household on the waiting list who is moving directly into RAS to be dealt with outside the normal prioritisation of the allocation scheme. This would generally be the case where the applicant is moving into RAS with their existing private landlord.

As is the case with all social housing supports, allocation schemes also provide a transfer mechanism to tenants, including RAS tenants, where they wish to move from one type of social housing support to another.

It is a matter for the housing authority to communicate effectively with applicants for social housing support, and I would expect such communication to be conducted in a reasonable manner.