The target number of households to be transferred under the Rental Accommodation Scheme in 2014 remains at 4,000. Transfers under the scheme can be to RAS accommodation in the private rented sector or to other social housing options. Since the scheme commenced in late 2005 and to the end of Quarter 1 2014 some 48,894 households have been transferred from Rent Supplement to RAS and other social housing options. Of these 28,940 were housed directly under RAS and a further 19,954 were accommodated under other social housing options.
The figure of 2,500 referred to in Parliamentary Question No. 126 of 4 February 2014 represents the number of transfers to RAS accommodation in the private rented sector, which is counted as new social housing supply, and which was the subject of the question. Transfers that take place to other social housing options are not counted in the output figures for new supply under RAS as they are accounted for under the output figures for other supply mechanisms e.g. accommodation built or purchased by housing authorities or approved housing bodies. This is to avoid double counting the units which would lead to an overestimate of the new units supplied for social housing purposes in any given year.
When referring to overall targets in RAS this is not in reference to output or supply but rather to numbers transferred from Rent Supplement to RAS and other social housing options. This is how the operation of the scheme is measured, given that RAS is concerned with transferring households with an assessed long term housing need out of Rent Supplement and into social housing support.
Accommodation provided under the Rental Accommodation Scheme is governed by the Residential Tenancies Act 2004, as amended. A landlord can terminate the agreement entered into where particular circumstances prevail, if for example they wish to sell their rented property or where anti-social behaviour is an issue, subject to compliance with the provisions of the Act and the terms of the RAS agreement. While landlords can exit the scheme for the above reasons, there are landlords that still remain attracted to the scheme due to incentives such as a guaranteed rent for a minimum of 4 years, no rent collection, no vacancies and savings on advertising costs.