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Housing Policy

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 16 November 2021

Tuesday, 16 November 2021

Questions (291)

Pádraig O'Sullivan

Question:

291. Deputy Pádraig O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage if a person is permitted to sublet a property they received from an approved housing body; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55949/21]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs) are independent, not-for-profit organisations providing affordable rented housing for people who cannot provide housing from their own means and for particular groups, such as older people or homeless people. AHBs also include housing co-operatives, which are housing organisations controlled by their members/tenants who actively participate in setting their policies and making decisions.

AHBs work in partnership with local authorities. Section 22 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009 requires all housing authorities, as a reserved function, to make an allocation scheme determining the order of priority to be accorded in the allocation of dwellings to households qualified for social housing support and to households approved for a transfer, the allocation of which would, in the opinion of the authority, meet the accommodation needs and requirements of the households.

Under section 22, an allocation scheme shall apply to dwellings owned or under the control of a local authority, as well as dwellings provided by AHBs supported by Exchequer funding. In this instance, where a vacancy arises in a dwelling owned or managed by an AHB, the relevant local authority may nominate suitable households from its housing or transfer list to that body, having regard to the order of priority set out in its allocation scheme. The local authority relies on the AHB to inform them of vacancies for re-lets and their nomination rights as they arise.

The Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 2015 provides that social housing tenants in AHB dwellings may not assign or sublet their tenancies. The provision of dwellings by AHBs to social housing tenants is funded almost entirely by the state and is a means of providing housing to those in need who cannot provide housing from their own means. If social housing tenants were permitted to assign or sublet their tenancies, it could result in an individual not on the social housing list occupying the dwelling rather than an individual who has been assessed as having a housing need. This is in conflict with the purpose of social housing which is to provide housing to those who cannot provide housing for themselves.

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