Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Ceisteanna (737)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

737. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his plans to deal with landlords who ignore tenants who are engaged in anti-social behaviour. [9589/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

Action to deal with anti-social behaviour is primarily a matter for An Garda Síochána.

The Residential Tenancies Acts 2004-2016 sets out the rights and obligations of tenants and landlords in the private rented sector and the Approved Housing Body sector. Under section 16(h) of the Residential Tenancies Act, a tenant shall not engage, nor allow their visitors to engage, in anti-social behaviour. Section 17 of the Act defines anti-social behaviour to include behaviour that: constitutes the commission of an offence reasonably likely to affect directly the well-being or welfare of others; could cause fear, danger, injury, damage or loss to certain persons; or persistently prevents or interferes with the peaceful occupation of others in the property or neighbourhood.

Under section 15 of the Act, a landlord owes to each person who could be potentially affected a duty to enforce the tenant’s obligations and section 77 provides that third parties who are directly and adversely affected by tenants engaging in anti-social behaviour may, subject to certain conditions, refer a complaint to the RTB for resolution, where a landlord has failed to enforce their tenant’s obligations. Further information can be obtained on the RTB’s website at www.rtb.ie .

In relation to tenants engaging in anti-social behaviour in a local authority dwelling, the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1997 provides for a court order on application by the tenant, tenant purchaser or the housing authority or approved body concerned, which has the effect of excluding a household member engaged in anti-social behaviour from the dwelling and, if appropriate, from the estate in question for a maximum period of 3 years. The Act also empowers a housing authority to refuse to allocate or sell a dwelling to a person engaged in anti-social behaviour or in the interest of good estate management.

The Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2014 strengthened the powers of housing authorities in relation to securing excluding orders where there is anti-social behaviour in their housing stock. Part 2 of the 2014 Act prescribes procedures to deal with serious breaches of the tenancy agreements for their dwellings, including anti-social behaviour and strengthens the power of housing authorities to recover possession of their dwellings from households in serious breach of their tenancy agreements, including engaging in anti-social behaviour.

Section 35 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009 requires each housing authority, by reserved function, to adopt an ‘‘anti-social behaviour strategy’’ for the prevention and reduction of anti-social behaviour in its housing stock.

Such strategies apply to dwellings let under the Housing Acts 1966 to 2009 and dwellings let under Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS) Availability Agreements (Chapter 4), as defined in the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009. The tenancy agreement and legislation, which forms an integral part of the anti-social behaviour strategy, allows for a more targeted approach in dealing with persons engaged in anti-social behaviour and to avoid, if possible, the eviction of an entire household.

In respect of the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) scheme, under section 45(6) of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2014, local authorities may refuse to provide, or cease providing, housing assistance in respect of a qualified household where the local authority considers that any household member is or has been engaged in anti-social behaviour. Under this section, the local authority may also refuse to permit a person who proposes to take up or resume residence or enter or be in a dwelling the subject of housing assistance where the local authority considers that the person is or has been engaged in anti-social behaviour. As they are private rental tenancies, the provisions of the Residential Tenancies Acts also apply to tenancies in the RAS and HAP schemes. It is a matter for local authorities to assess whether housing applicants are engaging in anti-social behaviour.