Minimum standards for rental accommodation are prescribed in the Housing (Standards for Rented Houses) Regulations 2017, made under section 18 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1992. All landlords, including those in receipt of Housing Assistance Payment, 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.
HAP is underpinned by the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2014. Under section 41 of the 2014 Act, local authorities are required to commence the inspection process within 8 months of the commencement of HAP support being provided in relation to a particular dwelling if not already inspected within the previous 12 months. HAP may be provided on a property which is the subject of a subsisting improvement notice under section 18A of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1992. HAP shall not be, or shall cease to be, provided on a property which is the subject of proceedings or a prohibition notice under section 18B of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1992. Where a prohibition notice has come into effect, HAP may continue to be paid for 13 weeks from the date of HAP commencing or the notice coming into force, as appropriate.
Following the completion of the statutory phased roll-out of the HAP scheme in March 2017, the HAP Shared Services Centre, SSC, which provides a central transactional service for all local authorities and is operated by Limerick City and County Council, updated the ICT system used for HAP supported tenancies in order to assist local authorities in recording their compliance with their legislative obligations in 2017. Local authorities are currently recording inspection activity across a range of data systems, and the SSC is working closely with local authorities to ensure that data in relation to HAP related inspections is recorded on the new HAP module. This involves the migration of some historic data and the refinement of existing data management practices to ensure that overall, the data is being managed efficiently. I have asked local authorities and the SSC to prioritise this piece of work, and I expect the use of the HAP specific reporting module, and the work to align it with the other reporting systems, will be completed speedily.
Data in relation to all private rental inspections carried out by local authorities is available on my Department's website at the following link: