Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Questions (1136)

Robert Troy


1136. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if a person who has partaken in a shared ownership scheme through a local authority 20 years ago is eligible to apply for a tenant purchase scheme in a different local authority at present. [44672/19]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

The Housing (Sale of Local Authority Houses) Regulations 2015, provide the basis for the current Tenant (Incremental) Purchase Scheme, which came into operation on 1 January 2016.

The Scheme is open to eligible tenants, including joint tenants, of local authority houses that are available for sale under the Scheme. To be eligible, tenants must meet certain criteria, including having a minimum reckonable income of €15,000 per annum and having been in receipt of social housing support for at least one year. All tenants of houses included in the scheme who meet the eligibility criteria can apply to purchase their house, provided they are not disqualified from doing so under the provisions of the legislation. Reasons for disqualification include rent arrears, participation in a previous tenant purchase scheme or engagement in anti-social behaviour.

The 2015 Regulations governing the Scheme provide for a number of specified classes of houses to be excluded from sale, including houses provided to local authorities under Part V of the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended, houses specifically designed for older persons, group Traveller housing and houses provided to facilitate people with disabilities transferring from institutional care to community-based living.

Local authorities may also, within the provisions of the Regulations, exclude certain houses which, in the opinion of the authority, should not be sold for reasons such as proper stock or estate management. It is a matter for each individual local authority to administer the Scheme in its operational area in line with the over-arching provisions of the governing legislation for the Scheme, and in a manner appropriate to its housing requirements.

Local authorities are by law (Section 63 of the Local Government Act 2001) independent in the performance of their functions. The operation of the current Tenant (Incremental) Purchase Scheme is therefore a matter for the relevant local authority concerned, in line with legislation, including the Housing (Sale of Local Authority Houses) Regulations 2015. Thus, the situation referred to by the Deputy in his question would best be resolved by direct contact with the relevant local authority concerned.

In the absence of precise details in relation to the prior house purchase referred to by the Deputy it is simply not possible to give a definitive reply to the query raised. However, it should be noted that it was possible to purchase a house from a local authority through a shared ownership option under the then 1995 Tenant Purchase Scheme (operated under the terms of the Housing (Sale of Houses) Regulations, 1995). Any person who purchased a home in this way would not now be eligible to avail of the terms of the current Tenant (Incremental) Purchase Scheme.

Finally, as the Deputy will be aware, section 6 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009 specifically provides that the Minister’s power to issue policy directions and guidelines to housing authorities in relation to their housing functions shall not be construed as enabling the Minister to exercise any power or control in relation to any individual case with which a housing authority is or may be concerned.