Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Questions (462)

Tom Fleming


462. Deputy Tom Fleming asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will review the Social Housing Assessment Regulations 2011, whereby separated persons who are the joint owners of properties are currently deemed ineligible for social housing support, unless they are separated under an order of a court of competent jurisdiction or by a deed of separation, as this regulation is too restrictive and makes it very difficult for certain separated persons with a housing need to access social housing supports; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5232/14]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

Regulation 22(1) of the Social Housing Assessment Regulations 2011 provides that a household with alternative accommodation that would meet its housing need is ineligible for social housing support. Paragraph (2) of the Regulation clarifies that paragraph (1) does not operate to exclude from eligibility for social housing support an applicant who owns accommodation that is occupied by his or her spouse, from whom he or she is formally separated or divorced. Under the enactment, a deed of separation is sufficient to set aside this ineligibility ground and it is not necessary to await judicial separation or divorce to get a decision on social housing support in these cases.

This legislation operates satisfactorily in most cases. Nonetheless, in the context of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill, which is currently in preparation, I am considering whether legislative change is warranted to deal with exceptional cases that present difficulties under the current arrangements .

Questions Nos. 463 to 465, inclusive, answered with Question No. 423.