Tuesday, 17 December 2019

Questions (769)

James Browne

Question:

769. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if a log cabin is an eligible form of housing under the HAP scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53183/19]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

The Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) scheme plays a vital role in housing eligible families and individuals.  At the end of Q3 2019, nearly 67,000 HAP tenancies had been set-up since the scheme commenced, of which there were more than 50,000 households actively in receipt of HAP support and over 29,000 separate landlords and agents providing accommodation to households supported by the scheme. 

A key principle of the HAP scheme is that eligible households source their own accommodation in the private rented sector and the tenancy agreement is between the tenant and the landlord.  The Residential Tenancies Act 2004 regulates the landlord-tenant relationship in the private rented sector and sets out the rights and obligations of landlords and tenants. HAP supported tenancies are afforded the same protections available to all private rented tenancies.

Minimum standards for rental accommodation are prescribed in the Housing (Standards for Rented Houses) Regulations 2019.  All landlords, including those in receipt of HAP, have a legal obligation to ensure that their rented properties comply with these regulations and responsibility for the enforcement of the regulations rests with the relevant local authority.  Local authorities will also normally check to ensure compliance with all planning regulations.

In order for a housing authority to be satisfied that a tenancy is or would be in good faith; the onus is on the applicant and landlord to prove that what is being proposed is a bona fide tenancy.  Ultimately, it is up to the local authority to make a decision in each individual case.

My Department continues to keep the operation of the HAP scheme under review, which I consider to be a key vehicle in meeting housing need and fulfilling the ambitious programme outlined under Rebuilding Ireland.

Question No. 770 answered with Question No. 736.