Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Tuesday, 11 Jun 2019

Written Answers Nos. 978-993

Septic Tank Grants

Ceisteanna (978)

Peter Burke


978. Deputy Peter Burke asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the grant schemes available for private wells and septic tanks; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23780/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

On 8 February this year, I announced details of the measures being funded through my Department under the Multi-annual Rural Water Programme 2019-2021. This included improved funding schemes for individual wells (more commonly known as private or household wells) and on-site wastewater treatment systems (more commonly known as septic tanks).

The composition of the new multi-annual programme is based on recommendations from the Working Group that I established in April 2018 to conduct a review of investment needs and rural water services. The changes that I have approved to the individual wells grant scheme are, as follows:

- A maximum grant for rehabilitation works of €3,000, which represents an increase of 47% on the current maximum grant amount;

- Where the local authority agrees that the most appropriate solution is to provide a new well, the maximum grant payable would be €5,000;

- Recognising the role of the grant in improving quality, the water quality treatment element (typically filtration and UV filtration) will qualify for 100% funding up to a maximum of €1,000;

- Up to 85% of other costs would be met, subject to the total combined maximum costs of €3,000 for well rehabilitation or €5,000 for a new well;

- For clarity, applicants would not be able to avail of both grant amounts, so they would not be able to avail of €3,000 for well rehabilitation as well as the €5,000 for a new well.

The new funding scheme for on-site wastewater treatment systems (more commonly known as septic tanks) will replace the grant which was brought into operation by the Domestic Waste Water Treatment System (Financial Assistance) Regulations 2013.  Under certain conditions, households can receive a grant to assist them in carrying out remediation, repair or upgrading works to, or replacement of, their individual domestic wastewater treatment system (septic tank). 

To avail of the grant the treatment system must have been inspected under the EPA’s National Inspection Plan and an Advisory Notice must have been issued by the local authority under the Water Services (Amendment) Act 2012.  Also, the treatment system requiring attention must have been registered by the owner of the premises connected to it by 1 February 2013.

In order to ensure greater uniformity with other measures in the Multi-Annual Rural Water Programme the means test that previously applied to this grant scheme is being removed and the level of grant support is being increased to 85% of the eligible costs of installation/upgrade or €5,000 (up from €2,500/€4,000) whichever is the lesser.  This represents an increase of 25% and 100%, respectively, relative to the current maximum grant levels.

Work is at an advanced stage of development for the funding schemes. I expect that the process will be completed in the coming weeks when the necessary regulations dealing with the financial assistance arrangements and related administrative matters are put in place. This will enable a circular letter, terms and conditions, guidance and application form to issue to local authorities shortly thereafter.

Seanad Reform

Ceisteanna (979)

Michael McGrath


979. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the position in relation to the extension of voting rights for the NUI panel in Seanad Éireann elections to graduates of the new technological universities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23785/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The Programme for a Partnership Government includes an objective to pursue the implementation of the Manning Report, formally known as the Report of the Working Group on Seanad Reform. That report makes recommendations to restructure and reform the Seanad, including implementation of the 1979 amendment of the constitution to extend the university franchise at Seanad elections to graduates of other institutions of higher education in the State.

In April 2018, the Taoiseach established an Implementation Group on Seanad Reform to consider the Manning report and to develop specific proposals to legislate for Seanad Reform.  The Group comprised Members of the Oireachtas with the assistance of outside experts, as appropriate. The Group's report, together with a draft Bill, was published in December 2018. 

The extension the university franchise at Seanad elections to graduates of other institutions of higher education in the State, is to be further considered in the context of consideration of the Group's report. 

Water and Sewerage Schemes

Ceisteanna (980)

Michael Healy-Rae


980. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his plans to introduce legislation regarding towns and villages without sewerage systems; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23799/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

On 8 February this year, I announced details of the measures being funded through my Department under the Multi-annual Rural Water Programme 2019-2021. The composition of the new multi-annual programme is based on recommendations from the Working Group that I established in April 2018 to conduct a review of investment needs and rural water services.

There is a two-strand approach to the considerations of the Working Group. Strand 1 considered the composition and distribution of funding for the Multi-annual Rural Water Programme 2019-2021, while Strand 2 is considering the more complex longer-focus issues surrounding the long-term future resourcing of the rural water sector.

Capital funding of €23 million had been provided in 2019 for the Programme, an increase €3 million on that provided in 2018.  A total of €75 million has been committed to the Programme under the National Development Plan from 2019 to 2021.

The 2019-2021 funding cycle of the Programme consists of eight measures.  Most are further broken into sub-measures. These measures reflect the key challenges currently facing the rural water sector.

Measure 6, Community Connections (Water and Wastewater) facilitates the continued expansion of the coverage of piped water supplies and central wastewater collection systems by extension off the public (Irish Water) network.  It includes a sub-measure Community Connection: Wastewater Network.  This sub-measure will support wastewater collection for population clusters, currently on deficient individual wastewater treatment systems (septic tanks), immediately adjacent to towns and villages through the development of community wastewater connection networks as extensions to the existing public wastewater collection system.

Strand 2 of the considerations by the Working Group is currently underway and I expect a further report later in 2019. The wastewater infrastructure needs of rural towns and villages is an issue that the Working Group is to examine further.

The Water Services Acts 2007 to 2017 already provide the necessary statutory framework for the delivery of water services.  Since 1 January 2014, Irish Water has statutory responsibility for all aspects of public water services planning, delivery and operation at national, regional and local levels.

In May 2018 the Government approved the Water Services Policy Statement 2018-2025 and shortly after Irish Water submitted its Strategic Funding Plan 2019-2024 to my Department. The Strategic Funding Plan, which I have approved, details Irish Water’s multi-annual strategic funding requirement of €11 billion to 2024, comprising of a €6.1 billion investment in infrastructure and assets and €4.9 billion in operating costs.

Irish Water will also play a key role in implementing Project Ireland 2040 which was published in February 2018 and incorporates the National Planning Framework (NPF) and the National Development Plan. Irish Water will take account of and support on-going work in developing subsidiary strategies to assist in implementing the NPF including the Regional Spatial and Economic Strategies as well as ongoing reviews of County Development Plans and Local Area Plans.

I understand that Irish Water will be bringing forward proposals for a Small Towns and Villages Growth Programme which will support a number of the National Policy Objectives and National Strategic Outcomes under the NPF. The Small Towns and Villages Growth Programme is intended to provide water and wastewater growth capacity in smaller settlements which would not otherwise be provided for in its Investment Plan to 2024. Irish Water is to work with Local Authorities across the country in ensuring the investment is made where it is needed most, aligned to core strategies.  I understand that it is being proposed that the overall national budget for this Programme would be allocated between counties, based on an identified need against set criteria.

Irish Water is subject to regulation by the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU).  The proposals from Irish Water in this regard form part of the submissions from Irish Water to the CRU on its detailed investment plans under the Irish Water Investment Plan 2020 to 2024.  These submissions are currently being considered and a decision is expected from the CRU in the second half of 2019.  Subject to the outcome of this process it will then be a matter for Irish Water to progress its proposals in relation to the Small Towns and Villages Growth Programme. 

Local Authority Staff

Ceisteanna (981)

Michael Healy-Rae


981. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his plans to open voluntary redundancy schemes in local authority offices in the future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23820/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

I have no plans at present to introduce a voluntary redundancy scheme for local authority employees.

Planning Guidelines

Ceisteanna (982)

Noel Grealish


982. Deputy Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if a house which is zoned commercial and on the grounds of a hotel in a rent pressure zone will be subject to short-term letting regulations coming into force on 1 July 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23822/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The Planning and Development (Exempted Development) (No.2) Regulations 2019 (the 2019 Regulations), which amend the Planning and Development Regulations 2001, as amended, provide that development involving a change of use relating to home sharing and limited short-term letting in a principal private residence in a rent pressure zone, is exempt from the requirement to obtain planning permission, subject to compliance with specified notification requirements to the local planning authority.  The 2019 Regulations will come into effect from 1 July 2019, concurrent with the commencement of the underpinning primary legislative provisions in the recently enacted Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 2019.

The new arrangements do not apply to properties  in rent pressure zones which already have a specific planning permission to be used for tourism or short term letting purposes, including as holiday homes. Holiday homes are properties which have been purposely designed, constructed and approved as dedicated tourism accommodation complexes sharing communal facilities and would normally be subject to planning conditions in relation to their continued operation, management and maintenance as a commercial development rather than a residential estate. The new arrangements do not affect the continued operation of such form of tourism accommodation .

However, if the house in question has a planning permission for use as residential accommodation, is located in a rent pressure zone  and the owner wishes to use it for short term letting purposes, this is a change of use of the house and accordingly, planning permission will be required irrespective of its commercial zoning.

Home Loan Scheme

Ceisteanna (983)

Michael Healy-Rae


983. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his plans to address issues with regard to the caps on the Rebuilding Ireland home loan scheme (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23835/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan has been made available to first-time buyers who have been unsuccessful in obtaining a mortgage from a financial institution since 1 February 2018. The loan can be used both for new and second-hand properties, or to build your own home.  In line with Central Bank rules, a person or couple can borrow up to 90% of the market value of the property.

To avail of the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan, an applicant must have an annual gross income of not more than €50,000 as a single applicant, or not more than €75,000 for joint applicants.  There is also a limit on the value of the property which can be purchased using this loan.  In the Greater Dublin Area (Dublin, Louth, Meath, Wicklow, Kildare), Cork and Galway, the maximum market value is €320,000. In the rest of the country, it is €250,000.  Under this loan, the maximum loan amount for a property is €288,000 in the Greater Dublin Area, Cork and Galway and €225,000 in the rest of the country, or 90% of the market value of the property, whichever is the lesser.

These figures were determined at the outset of the scheme to be in line with median house prices in these regions and it is evident from the success of the scheme to date that houses continue to be found within this price range.

I have no plans at this time to alter the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan regulations with regard to the value of eligible properties.

Housing Issues

Ceisteanna (984)

Joan Collins


984. Deputy Joan Collins asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the reason no physical masterplan or draft masterplan has been presented to the community or relevant groups in view of the fact that the cost rental proposal for St. Michael's Estate was launched in July 2018; and the reason there has been no financial plan available that would detail the way in which the whole project will be financed and the way in which rents will be set for those that will live in the new space in further view of the fact that the cost rental model is new. [23838/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The Dublin City Council-owned site at St. Michael’s Estate, Emmet Road, Inchicore, has been selected as the site for one of two cost rental ‘pathfinder’ pilot projects. It is estimated that this site can accommodate approximately 470 homes in a high quality mixed-tenure development. The current tenure mix as agreed with the Department is 30% Social and 70% cost rental.

Plans regarding the development of the site at St. Michael's Estate are a matter for Dublin City Council, in the first instance. The Council has appointed a dedicated project manager and a project team to move the project forward. In addition to pre-existing consultative arrangements, the Council is also facilitating the establishment of a special Inchicore Regeneration Consultative Forum specifically for this project. As part of the consultative process open consultation sessions were hosted throughout November 2018. Furthermore, professional advisers have been appointed to develop an Urban Design Framework Plan.

In addition to this, I appointed Mr Jack Nolan (retired Assistant Garda Commissioner) to undertake a scoping exercise for the Inchicore/Kilmainham area. This focuses on the long term economic and social regeneration of the community, and it is anticipated that his report will be submitted to me by the end of June.

Last year, my Department had initial discussions with the European Investment Bank (EIB) regarding possible financing options for the St. Michael’s site. The EIB remain very interested in the St. Michael’s project and this initial contact has helped to facilitate a research project into the potential for the development of a broader cost rental sector in Ireland that my Department agreed with the EIB last month.

Once the design of the project at St. Michael's Estate has been developed further by Dublin City Council, then more detailed financial modelling can be undertaken in relation to the cost rental element. This will build on the initial work undertaken by the National Development Finance Agency (NDFA) last year, which indicated that rents that should be achievable will be competitive (15-25% below market), and it is expected that these will decrease further, relative to market rates, over time.

In the meantime, work is continuing on the other cost rental 'pathfinder' pilot project at Enniskerry Road in Stepaside. This is a collaboration between my Department, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, the Housing Agency, Respond and Tuath Housing Associations, and the Housing Finance Agency.

The Enniskerry Road development comprises 155 homes, 50 of which will be cost rental. I have approved funding of c.€4.5m for the project under the Serviced Sites Fund and it is anticipated that construction will commence on site later this month.

Both the St. Michaels Estate and the Enniskerry Road projects will provide very valuable lessons for the development of a national cost rental approach in Ireland and will help to shape the contractual model and specifications for future larger-scale projects.

Seirbhísí trí Ghaeilge

Ceisteanna (985)

Catherine Connolly


985. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Catherine Connolly den Aire Tithíochta, Pleanála agus Rialtais Áitiúil cad iad na rialacha atá i bhfeidhm maidir le cumas Gaeilge na n-oibrithe a oibríonn sna hionaid vótála a fheidhmíonn i gceantair Ghaeltachta le linn toghchán/reifreann; agus an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas ina thaobh. [23845/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

Ní forálacha ar bith sa dlí toghcháin a bhaineann le cumas Gaeilge na foirne a oibríonn in stáisiúin vótála i gceantair Ghaeltachta.  Foráiltear sa dlí toghcháin go mbeidh stiúradh na dtoghchán faoi gach ceann comhairimh áitiúil. 

Mar sin féin, eisíonn mo Roinn treoir chuig gach ceann comhairimh áitiúil roimh gach vótáil, lena n-áirítear an vótáil is déanaí a rinneadh an 24 Bealtaine 2019.  Sa treoir sin, iarrtar ar chinn chomhairimh a chinntiú go bhfuil an inniúlacht ag na hoifigigh cheannais agus ag na cléirigh vótála a cheaptar ar na stáisiúin vótála sa Ghaeltacht chun a ndualgais a chur i gcrích i nGaeilge.

Flood Relief Schemes

Ceisteanna (986)

Peadar Tóibín


986. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the level of oversight his Department will have on local authority flood plans; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23887/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The Office of Public Works (OPW) is the body responsible for flood risk assessment and mitigation of flood risk. I understand that it has recently completed the Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management (CFRAM) programme which identifies areas vulnerable to fluvial flooding risk. OPW is working directly with local authorities in relation to flood risk management projects and my Department has no role in relation to these flood plans. 

When flooding occurs, the Government approved Framework for Major Emergency Management (2006) designates responsibility for coordination of the local response to  the relevant Local Authorities. 

The Government decision which approved the Framework also mandated the creation of an Inter-Department National Steering Group for Major Emergency Management.  My Department chairs and supports this Group, while the Principal Response Agencies (PRAs), the Department of Justice and Equality, the Department of Health, An Garda Síochána, the HSE and Local Authorities, are all represented on this National Steering Group.

The National Steering Group for Major Emergency Management prepared and approved a guidance document entitled “Guide to Flood Emergencies”, which  includes a template for Flood Plans to assist Local Authorities and the other PRAs in their preparedness for responding to flooding emergencies.  

The objective of a Flood Emergency Plan is to ensure effective and early response to any flooding emergency and co-ordination among the PRAs when flooding emergencies occur. This template was compiled with input and collaboration from OPW, Met Éireann, and the PRAs, drawing from international good practice and experience of flooding events.

Each local authority creates a Flood Plan relevant to its local flood risk and response capabilities for when a flooding emergency may occur.

Home Loan Scheme

Ceisteanna (987)

Maureen O'Sullivan


987. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his plans to enhance the criteria for persons qualifying for the Rebuilding Ireland home loan scheme to make the option more attainable for a greater number of persons; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24009/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

Applicants for the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan must be of good credit standing and have a satisfactory credit record.  The Housing Agency provides a central credit assessment service to local authorities and credit checks are undertaken as part of the credit assessment process.  The final decision on loan approval is a matter for the relevant local authority and its credit committee on a case-by-case basis.  Decisions on all housing loan applications must be made in accordance with the statutory credit policy that underpins the scheme, in order to ensure prudence and consistency in approaches in the best interests of both borrowers and the lending local authorities. 

As with the previous local authority home loan offerings, the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan is available to first time buyers only. This is to ensure the effective targeting of limited resources, and in order to protect both borrowers and local authorities the continuation of the scheme will have to be in accordance with the prudent lending criteria under which the scheme currently operates.  I have no plans to amend this requirement.

Urban Renewal Schemes

Ceisteanna (988)

Brendan Ryan


988. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government further to Parliamentary Question No. 678 of 21 May 2019, the level of related urban regeneration and development fund, URDF, funding demands expected to arise for 2019 and beyond in relation to the Celbridge southern relief road and second Liffey crossing proposal; the purpose of each tranche of funding in each year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24016/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

In 2018, bids were invited from public bodies for funding  support from the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund (URDF) either  under Category A, for projects that were proposed as being ready to be initiated, or under Category B, as projects that required further consideration and development.

On 26 November 2018, initial URDF support of €100 million was provisionally allocated to a total of 88 projects throughout the country under the first call for proposals. 

As part of this first tranche of approvals, Kildare County Council was allocated URDF support of €400,000 towards its Category B proposal to progress the technical and preparatory element of the Celbridge Southern Relief Road and Second Liffey Crossing.

The advancement and completion of this Category B project is, in the first instance, a matter for Kildare County Council.  It will also be a matter for the Council to consider the advancement of subsequent elements of the wider project, and whether additional funding support should be sought for them under a future URDF call for proposals.  

Local Government Reform

Ceisteanna (989)

Catherine Murphy


989. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his plans to reintroduce town councils; if so, the process he plans to follow; the timeframe he is following; if there will be a consultative process; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24069/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The Local Government Reform Act 2014 saw the dissolution of 80 town councils and the Government has no plans for their reintroduction. Instead, the focus of current policy is to strengthen the operation of the 95 municipal districts established in 2014 and which cover the entirety of the State’s population as opposed to the 14% of the population previously represented by town councils.

It should be noted that engagement with local authority members, as represented by the Association of Irish Local Government, has focused on strengthening the roles of municipal districts and achieving a clearer focus on towns within that context.

Housing Estates

Ceisteanna (990)

Eamon Ryan


990. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the redress available to residents in instances in which a developer has gone out of business and the management company is not in operation in a private estate such as the case of an estate (details supplied). [24087/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

Findings and recommendations from the National Taking in Charge Initiative (NTICI) were included in a report on the initiative that was published by my Department in December 2018. The report is available on my Department's website at the following link:


The publication of the NTICI report is of value to local authorities and other stakeholders in applying the lessons from the pilot authorities, in a more general roll-out of a streamlined approach to taking-in-charge, including through coordination with capital works by Irish Water. In this regard, my Department is liaising with Irish Water in relation to the report.

Ultimately, progression of individual developments through the taking-in-charge process is a matter for the relevant housing developer, the residents in each such development and the relevant local authority, following the procedures laid out in section 180 of the Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended).

Local authorities have powers (in their capacity both as a planning authority and as a water services authority) under the various planning and local government water pollution legislation to use, as considered appropriate by the authority, for issues such as raised in the question. It is a matter for the local authority to decide on the most appropriate course of action based on the particular circumstances involved.

The National Development Plan, published last year, includes provision of €31 million for the period 2018-2021 for developer-provided infrastructure, commencing with an estimates provision of €6 million in 2019. 

The multi-annual programme will be initiated through the invitation of project bids from local authorities followed by their evaluation by an Expert Panel, set up by my Department, to independently evaluate the bid projects to be approved for funding.  It is expected that the invitation of project bids from local authorities will issue shortly, with approval of projects for this first cycle multi-annual programme to take place once proposals submitted have been assessed.

Home Loan Scheme

Ceisteanna (991)

Mary Butler


991. Deputy Mary Butler asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of applications made in 2018, by county for the Rebuilding Ireland home loan scheme; the number of applications approved; the value of applications versus funds approved in tabular form; his plans for the scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24106/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The Housing Agency provides a central support service which assesses loan applications that are made to the local authorities and makes recommendations to the authorities as to whether loans should be offered to applicants.  I have asked the Agency to centrally compile figures on the numbers of applications that it has assessed and recommended for approval. The figures, as at the end of December 2018, indicate that out of the 3,036 applications assessed, the Agency had recommended a total of 1,550 applications for approval since the Rebuilding Ireland home loan scheme launched, as set out in the table below:

Local Authority 

Applications Assessed

Recommended to Approve 

Carlow County Council 



Cavan County Council 



Clare County Council 



Cork City Council 



Cork County Council 



Donegal County Council 



Dublin City Council 



Dún Laoghaire - Rathdown County Council 



Fingal County Council 



Galway City Council 



Galway County Council 



Kerry County Council 



Kildare County Council 



Kilkenny County Council 



Laois County Council 



Leitrim County Council 



Limerick City & County Council 



Longford County Council 



Louth County Council 



Mayo County Council 



Meath County Council 



Monaghan County Council 



Offaly County Council 



Roscommon County Council 



Sligo County Council 



South Dublin County Council 



Tipperary County Council 



Waterford City & County Council 



Westmeath County Council 



Wexford County Council 



Wicklow County Council 






The average loan amount requested across the 3,036 applications assessed in 2018 was €160,473 and the average loan amount for all applications recommended for approval was €189,045. The total amount recommended for approval from 1 February 2018, when the scheme began, to end December 2018 was €293 million.

In addition, a further 648 applications were deemed invalid and therefore not assessed.  

Applications are considered invalid for reasons of:

- Not a first-time buyer (ineligible)

- Earning income which exceeds scheme limits (ineligible)

- Not in continuous employment for the minimum period (ineligible)

- No right to remain in Ireland (ineligible)

- All required sections of the application form not completed (incomplete)

- Not providing the supporting documents described in the applicant checklist (incomplete)

Each local authority must have in place a credit committee and it is a matter for the committee to make the decision on applications for loans, in accordance with the regulations, having regard to the recommendations made by the Housing Agency.

Rental Sector Strategy

Ceisteanna (992)

Catherine Connolly


992. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the status of the roll out of choice-based letting for Galway city; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24115/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

As part of the broader social reform policy framework, the Social Housing Allocation (Amendment) Regulations 2016 were made on 30 September 2016, and required all local authorities, if they had not already done so, to provide for Choice Based Letting (CBL) as a method of allocation in their allocation schemes by 31 December 2016. Where a local authority, having included a provision for CBL in its allocation scheme, decides to operate a CBL scheme, it must implement it in accordance with Regulations 6 – 11 of the 2011 Regulations.  Decisions on which properties are to be included under a CBL scheme is a matter for individual local authorities.

My Department monitors the roll-out of CBL across all local authorities and conducted the most recent survey of implementation in Quarter 4 of 2018 at which time Galway City Council indicated they were not operating a CBL model. However, my Department has raised the matter with Galway City Council, who have confirmed that it is envisaged that a CBL scheme will be operational by year end. My Department will continue to liaise with all local authorities, including Galway City Council, with a view to ensuring that CBL is implemented, as widely as possible, across the country.

Rental Sector

Ceisteanna (993)

John Curran


993. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the details of his plans in relation to tenancies of indefinite duration; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24132/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The Residential Tenancies Acts 2004-2016 provide that where a tenant has been in occupation of a dwelling for a continuous period of 6 months, with no valid notice of termination having been served during that time, a 'Part 4' tenancy is established to cover the next 5 years and 6 months.

Section 34 of the 2004 Act provides that a landlord must state a reason for the termination in any tenancy termination notice served, in accordance with the grounds for terminations set out in the table to that section.  A Part 4 tenancy may be terminated by a landlord or tenant, without reason, at the end of its term.

A number of measures have been introduced in recent years with the objective of improving security of tenure for tenants.  The Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Act 2016 extended the term of Part 4 tenancies from 4 to 6 years, for tenancies commencing on or after 24 December 2016; this delivered on a commitment, in Action 8 of the Government's 2016 Strategy for the Rental Sector, to provide for 6-year tenancies as part of a transition to tenancies of indefinite duration. 

The Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 2019 enhances further the security of tenure for tenants by significantly extending the duration of tenancy termination notice periods; for example, a minimum of 180 days (approx. 6 months) notice must be provided by landlords who terminate a tenancy of between 3 and 7 years’ duration. In addition, further measures have been introduced to enhance and enforce tenancy termination provisions, including:

- the application of the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB)'s new investigation and sanctioning regime to improper conduct by a landlord who contravenes the tenancy termination provisions; and

- a new requirement for landlords to copy a tenancy termination notice to the RTB.

The transition to tenancies of indefinite duration is being considered in the context of a further Housing and Residential Tenancies Bill which I will be bringing forward later this year and is expected to be the subject of pre-legislative scrutiny by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Housing, Planning and Local Government in Q4 2019. A Regulatory Impact Assessment will be undertaken by my Department in relation to the Bill.