Rent Supplement Scheme

Ceisteanna (1936)

Seán Fleming

Ceist:

1936. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the position regarding landlords that do not want to enter the housing assistance payment scheme with a local authority but have existing tenants that are in receipt of rental supplement; if they can continue on same; the engagement he has with the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection to ensure that some persons are not left homeless as a result of landlords not entering into the HAP agreement in circumstances in which there is no suitable alternative rental accommodation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34954/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) is a form of social housing support for people who have a long-term housing need. It is available in all local authority areas and its introduction ensures that all social housing supports can be accessed through the local authorities.

HAP will replace Rent Supplement (RS) for those with a long-term housing need, who qualify for social housing support. However, RS will remain available through the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP) to households as a short-term income support. The strategic aim is to complete the majority of transfers from long-term RS to HAP by end 2020, as outlined in the Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness.

HAP provides fast, flexible housing support to all eligible households in the area of their choice. Individuals, who in the past were reluctant to avail of full time work as they would lose their Rent Supplement support, can now move to HAP and avail of full-time employment and retain their housing support, with an adjustment in their differential rent.

HAP plays a vital role in housing eligible families and individuals. At the end of Q2 2019 there were more than 48,000 households having their housing needs met via HAP.

A landlord or an agent acting on behalf of a landlord is not legally obliged to enter into a tenancy agreement with a HAP recipient. However, on 1 January 2016, the Equality (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2015 introduced “housing assistance” as a new discriminatory ground. This means that discrimination in the provision of accommodation or related service and amenities against people in receipt of rent supplement, HAP or other social welfare payments is prohibited. Further information is available at www.ihrec.ie/your-rights/i-have-an-issue-with-a-service/i-have-an-issue-about-accommodation/.

If a person feels that they have been discriminated against by a landlord or their agent, they can make a complaint under the Equal Status Acts to the Workplace Relations Commission; further information is available on the Commission's website, www.workplacerelations.ie.

Administration of the HAP scheme is a matter for the relevant local authority. The transfer of existing long-term rent supplement tenancies is continuing, with ongoing engagement between local authorities and local DEASP offices. Failure of a landlord to participate in HAP should not affect an existing customer’s entitlement to rent supplement, provided that the tenant has engaged with the local authority and/or Community Welfare Officer within the HAP transfer process.

I continue to keep the operation of HAP under review but I am currently satisfied with how the scheme is operating and I consider it to be a key vehicle for meeting current housing need and fulfilling the ambitious programme set out in Rebuilding Ireland.

Pyrite Remediation Programme

Ceisteanna (1937)

Lisa Chambers

Ceist:

1937. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the status of the proposed pyrite scheme; the details of same; the funding in place for the scheme; when it is due to commence; the way in which a homeowner can apply for the scheme; the number of homes that will be accepted to the scheme; the criteria needed to be granted a place on the scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34969/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

In October 2018, the Government approved in principle the development of a grant scheme of financial assistance to support affected homeowners in the counties of Donegal and Mayo to carry out the necessary remediation works to dwellings that have been damaged due to defective concrete blocks.

In May 2019, agreement was reached with the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform to allocate €20 million to a scheme for this purpose from within the €2.4 billion housing budget for 2019. Funding for future years will be agreed on an annual basis as part of the normal Estimates process.

The full terms and conditions of the scheme are being finalised, again in consultation with the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform. This process will take account of the engagement that my Department is currently having with both Donegal and Mayo County Councils. In this regard, officials from my Department continue to meet with both local authority teams to discuss implementation arrangements for the scheme and further engagement will take place over the coming weeks.

On completion of this work, it is intended to revert to Government on the matter. The aim will be to complete the outstanding work without delay in order to ensure that the scheme can get underway as early as possible.

Planning Issues

Ceisteanna (1938)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

1938. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if he will address a matter (details supplied) regarding unauthorised reports in planning; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34990/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

My role, as Minister, in relation to the planning system is mainly to provide and update the legislative and policy guidance framework. The legislative framework comprises the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended, (the Act) and the Planning and Development Regulations 2001, as amended.

With regards to policy guidance, my Department has issued a large number of planning guidelines (available on my Department’s website, www.housing.gov.ie) under section 28 of the Act, to which planning authorities and An Bord Pleanála are obliged to have regard in the exercise of their planning functions. The day-to-day operation of the planning system is, however, a matter for the planning authorities.

In this regard and in accordance with planning legislation, enforcement of planning control is a matter for the relevant planning authority which can take action if a development does not have the required permission, or where the terms of a permission have not been met.

Under the Act, it is obligatory for the planning authority to follow up substantive written complaints of breaches of the planning code, unless it considers the complaint to be trivial or vexatious, or without substance or foundation.

Once a planning authority has received a written complaint and forms the view that unauthorised development may have been, is being or may be carried out, it must issue a warning letter to the owner or person carrying out the development unless the development in question is of a trivial or minor nature.

After issuing the warning letter the planning authority will carry out an investigation with a view to deciding whether further action is required. In making its decision, the authority must take into account the original written complaint received and any representations from the person who was served with the warning letter.

Where the planning authority establishes, having carried out an investigation that unauthorised development is being carried out which is not trivial or minor, and the person carrying out the development does not move to remedy the situation (e.g. by removing the offending development or by applying for permission), the planning authority must in general take further action e.g. issue an enforcement notice or seek a court order.

Under section 30 of the Act, I am specifically precluded from exercising any power or control in relation to any particular case, including an enforcement issue, with which a planning authority or An Bord Pleanála is or may be concerned.

In May 2013, a Ministerial Policy Directive was issued to all planning authorities under section 29 of the Act, reminding them of their statutory obligations under Part VIII of the Act relating to enforcement. The Policy Directive required that planning authorities ensure that sufficient and appropriate human resources are made available for enforcement purposes. It also required planning authorities to undertake appropriate monitoring of planning enforcement and directed them to prioritise large-scale unauthorised development and enforcement cases.

Further to this Policy Directive, it is a matter for planning authorities to ensure that they utilise resources appropriately for efficient and effective planning enforcement.

Water and Sewerage Schemes Status

Ceisteanna (1939)

Lisa Chambers

Ceist:

1939. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the status of the proposed public water schemes for Murrisk, Lecanvey, Kilsallagh and Louisburgh, County Mayo; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35005/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

Since 1 January 2014, Irish Water has statutory responsibility for all aspects of water services planning, delivery and operation at national, regional and local levels. Irish Water, as a single publically owned national water services authority, is taking a strategic, nationwide national utility approach to asset planning and investment, and meeting customer requirements.

Irish Water’s Water Services Strategic Plan (WSSP) published in 2015 sets out the strategic objectives for its delivery of water services over 25 years up to 2040 in order to ensure the provision of clean safe drinking water, effective management of wastewater, environmental protection and support for social and economic development. The Irish Water Business Plan, Transforming Water Services in Ireland to 2021 (also published in 2015), sets out its short to medium term planning in implementing the first phase of the Water Services Strategic Plan.

On 21 May 2018, I published the Water Services Policy Statement 2018-2025, following its approval by Government. The Policy Statement gives clear direction to strategic planning and decision making on water and wastewater services in Ireland. The Policy Statement sets out a series of high-level policy objectives across the three thematic areas of Quality, Conservation, and Future Proofing, which must be pursued when planning capital investment and framing current spending plans. The Policy Statement is available on my Department’s website at the following link: www.housing.gov.ie/sites/default/files/publications/files/water_services_policy_statement_2018-2025_0.pdf.

I approved Irish Water's Strategic Funding Plan 2019-2024 on 7 November 2018, following its consideration by Government. The Strategic Funding Plan sets out Irish Water’s operational and capital expenditure plans. and is available on my Department’s website at the following link: www.housing.gov.ie/sites/default/files/publications/files/irish_water_strategic_funding_plan.pdf

Based on the Strategic Funding Plan, Irish Water’s next Capital Investment Plan for the five year period from 2020 to 2024 will set out the financial plan for capital investments to support Irish Water’s strategic objectives, as set out in the WSSP and in its Strategic Funding Plan, to deliver improvements to water services where they are needed most. Irish Water will also take account of developing subsidiary programmes within its investment plan to assist in implementing the National Planning Framework and the National Development Plan, including the Regional Spatial and Economic Strategies, as well as ongoing reviews of local authority statutory land use plans. I understand that it has brought 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 National Planning Framework. 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 Irish Water’s Investment Plan. Irish Water will work with local authorities across the country in ensuring that investment is made where it is needed most, aligned to local authority core strategies. It is in that context that investment decisions in relation to individual projects will be made.

Irish Water has established a dedicated team to deal with representations and queries from public representatives. The team can be contacted via email to oireachtasmembers@water.ie or by telephone on a dedicated number, 1890 578 578.

Separately, 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. Local authorities were invited to submit their bids for the funding of schemes or projects in their functional areas and Mayo County Council included a scheme at Murrisk in its application to my Department under the new Programme.

My Department is currently considering local authorities' bids for funding allocations. An Expert Panel has been put in place to support the evaluation process. In addition to providing an expert perspective, the Panel brings independence, openness and transparency to the bids evaluation process which is done on a national prioritised basis. The Expert Panel’s membership includes Departmental, stakeholder and independent representation.

The Expert Panel has made recommendations to my Department on the suitability of schemes and projects for funding based on objective criteria which are set out in the framework document issued to local authorities when requesting proposals. I expect to conclude the consideration of the Panel's recommendations and to make an announcement of the allocations shortly.

Approved Housing Bodies

Ceisteanna (1940)

James Browne

Ceist:

1940. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the position regarding the approved list of charitable housing bodies that apply for funding towards building homes for qualifying persons; the way in which this list is compiled; if monitoring of activities takes place; if local authorities have a role in monitoring the housing bodies activities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35013/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

In order to be eligible for funding for the construction of social housing, housing bodies must be registered as Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs) in accordance with Section 6 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1992.

To become an AHB, the body must comply with a range of criteria including that it is an independent, not-for-profit organisation. Details on how to apply for approved status along with a list of existing AHBs can be found on my Department's website at the following link:

www.housing.gov.ie/housing/social-housing/voluntary-and-cooperative-housing/approved-housing-bodies-AHBs.

AHBs are, by definition, non-profit, independent legal entities with independent governance structures. Each AHB must have a properly functioning governing body, or board of directors/trustees, which is directly responsible for the commissioning of housing projects and services, the ownership, management and maintenance of dwellings and compliance with all statutory regulations.

The oversight of AHBs is currently conducted through the Voluntary Regulation Code (VRC), Building for the Future, A Voluntary Regulation Code for Approved Housing Bodies in Ireland. The VRC is overseen by the Interim Regulation Committee (IRC), based in the Housing Agency.

Since the Code was put in place, any AHB applying for housing funding from my Department and local authorities must furnish proof of compliance with the Voluntary Code. Since January 2017, only those AHBs that have undergone a satisfactory assessment as part of the annual assessment process by the Regulation Office are considered eligible for funding for the provision of social housing.

All funding to AHBs is provided via the local authorities as the latter are the statutory housing authorities for their areas. All social housing provision in each area, including by AHBs, must be provided with the approval and oversight of the local authorities. The local authority determines whether an AHB project is to be approved or not, based on housing need and suitability of the proposed development. The AHB enters into a contract with the local authority and must abide by the terms and conditions of the relevant scheme.

The Housing (Regulation of Approved Housing Bodies) Bill 2019 was published on 30 July 2019. The Bill provides for the establishment of an independent Approved Housing Bodies Regulatory Authority, enhancing the regulation of AHBs for the purposes of supporting stronger governance and the financial viability of the sector, with a particular focus on safeguarding the significant public investment being made in the delivery of social housing by AHBs. Similarly, the Bill will provide assurance to tenants, the public and potential investors that the sector is well regulated.

Derelict Sites

Ceisteanna (1941)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

1941. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the schemes rolled out by his Department in an effort to deal with derelict buildings; the details of same; his plans for one-off housing and dwellings; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35057/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

Local authorities have been provided with a number of powers and measures to deal with the issue of derelict buildings. There also exists a framework of overarching policy and capital funding which provides support to development, including urban regeneration.

Under the Government's Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan on Housing and Homelessness, the Repair and Leasing Scheme has been introduced to assist property owners in bringing vacant properties back into use for social housing purposes. The scheme is particularly targeted at owners of vacant properties who cannot afford or access the funding needed to bring their properties up to the required standard for rental properties.

Subject to the suitability of the property for social housing, and the agreement of the property owner, the cost of the necessary repairs is met upfront with a capital loan from the local authority or an approved housing body (AHB) up to a maximum of €40,000, and up to a maximum of €50,000 in the situation where the property is a former bedsit. This allows the property owner to sign-up to a lease arrangement with a local authority or an AHB for a period of time that is linked to the value of the repairs, subject to a minimum lease period of 5 years. Up to end Q1 2019, a total of 102 homes had been brought back into use under the scheme.

A similar measure entitled the Buy and Renew Scheme supports local authorities in purchasing and renewing housing units in need of repair which can then be made available for social housing use. It is a matter for each local authority to determine the suitability of a property for social housing. Important considerations in that regard include the location of a property in relation to housing need and demand, the design and scale suitability of a property for social housing use, and the costs and practicality of acquiring and remediating a property.

The Buy and Renew Scheme particularly focuses on older vacant homes to help tackle the problem of dereliction and improve the appearance of the community. As a complementary initiative to the Repair and Leasing Scheme, it provides the option for suitable properties to be purchased rather than leased, if that is the preference of the owners of vacant properties. Since its introduction, local authorities have delivered over 430 new social homes under the scheme. Activity in this regard is largely delegated to local authorities so they can respond flexibly to all opportunities to provide new social housing.

The Derelict Sites Act 1990 imposes a general duty on every owner and occupier of land to take all reasonable steps to ensure that the land does not become, or continue to be, a derelict site. The Act also imposes a duty on local authorities to take all reasonable steps, including the exercise of appropriate statutory powers, to ensure that any land within their functional area does not become, or continue to be, a derelict site.

Local authority powers include requiring owners or occupiers to take appropriate measures on derelict sites, acquiring derelict sites by agreement, or compulsorily, and to apply a derelict sites levy on derelict sites. It is a matter for local authorities to determine the most appropriate use of the legislation within their respective functional areas.

Under the Act, local authorities are required to maintain a derelict sites register, which includes the name and address of each owner and occupier, where these can be ascertained by reasonable enquiry, of any land which, in the opinion of the local authority, is a derelict site. Under section 8(5) of the Act, a copy of the derelict sites register for any local authority can be inspected at the offices of that authority during office hours. Members of the public can engage with their local authority in relation to addressing individual derelict sites in their local areas. The 1990 Act does not differentiate between one-off houses and any other type of derelict site.

The Urban Regeneration and Housing Act 2015 enables local authorities to apply a levy to vacant and underutilised sites in urban areas. The main objective of the Vacant Site Levy is to incentivise the development of such sites for both the provision of housing and the development and renewal of land, and to facilitate the most efficient use of such land and sites and enable them to be brought into beneficial use. The levy applies to all sites, both public and privately owned, which exceed 0.05 hectares on residential land or regeneration land and which meet the relevant criteria. In order to avoid a double levy on any site, the Derelict Sites Levy is not payable for any site subject to the Vacant Site Levy.

Under the Planning and Development (Amendment) Act 2018, both the Derelict Sites Levy and the Vacant Sites Levy will increase from 3% to 7% of the market valuation of relevant sites with effect from January 2020. This change in the rate of the levies is intended to ensure that the levies have more meaningful impact and that the powers of local authorities in tackling dereliction and vacancy are strengthened for the purpose of bringing relevant sites into productive use, thereby facilitating urban regeneration and development while also combatting land hoarding.

In addition, the Planning and Development (Amendment) (No.2) Regulations 2018, which came into operation on 8 February 2018, provide for an exemption from the requirement to obtain planning permission in respect of the change of use of certain vacant commercial premises, including vacant areas above ground floor premises, to residential use. This measure is aimed at facilitating the productive re-use of qualifying vacant commercial buildings as homes, while also facilitating urban renewal and the bringing on stream of increased housing supply.

Project Ireland 2040, launched by the Government in February 2018, is the overarching policy and planning framework for the social, economic and cultural development of Ireland. It includes a detailed capital investment plan for the period 2018 to 2027, the National Development Plan (NDP) 2018-2027, and the 20-year National Planning Framework (NPF).

The NDP established four new funds, with a combined allocation of €4 billion to 2027. The Urban Regeneration and Development Fund (URDF), which is the fund operated by my Department, was launched last year and has an overall provision of €2 billion to 2027. €58m is available in 2019 to provide initial support to the 88 projects announced last November on foot of the first call for proposals.

The URDF was established to support applicant-led projects that will contribute to regeneration and rejuvenation of Ireland’s five cities and other large towns, in line with the objectives of the NPF and the NDP. The aim is to achieve more compact, sustainable and mixed use development, with a view to ensuring that more parts of our urban areas can become attractive and vibrant places in which people choose to live and work, as well as to invest and to visit. This will be done by supporting proposals that contribute to the re-development of key brownfield areas, including areas containing derelict sites and buildings, both by enabling infrastructure and new master-planned development proposals.

While the URDF is not intended to provide direct support for particular housing projects, some of the projects it is currently supporting will enable a significant proportion of residential and mixed-use development to be delivered within the existing built-up footprints of our cities and towns.

With regard to one-off housing and dwellings, my Department established a working group to review and, where necessary, recommend changes to the 2005 Planning Guidelines on Sustainable Rural Housing, issued under section 28 of the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended. Once ongoing deliberations by the working group are completed, I will be in a position to finalise and issue to planning authorities revisions to the 2005 Guidelines.

Housing Assistance Payment Data

Ceisteanna (1942)

Seán Fleming

Ceist:

1942. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of persons on the housing assistant payment scheme at the end of each year from 2014 to 2018; the number of families on the scheme at the end of June 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35074/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) scheme is a flexible and immediate housing support that is now available to all eligible households throughout the State, following a phased roll out across local authorities over a number of years, commencing in 2014.

Details on the number of households supported by HAP at the end of each year from 2014 to 2018 are set out in the table below:

Year

Number of Households Supported by HAP at year end

2014

485

2015

5,853

2016

16,493

2017

31,228

2018

43,443

2019

48,261 (to end Q2)

My Department continues to keep the operation of the HAP scheme under review. In general, I am satisfied with the operation of the scheme and I consider it to be a key vehicle for meeting housing need and fulfilling the ambitious programme outlined under the Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan.

Rent Pressure Zones

Ceisteanna (1943)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Ceist:

1943. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if Athy local electoral area will be designated as a rent pressure zone; the rent increases in the area over the past two years by quarter; if HAP thresholds will be increased; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35084/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

Section 24A of the Residential Tenancies Act 2004, as amended, provides that the Housing Agency, in consultation with housing authorities, may make a proposal to the Minister that an area should be considered for designation as a Rent Pressure Zone. Following receipt of such a proposal, the Minister requests the Director of the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) to conduct an assessment of the area to establish whether or not it meets the criteria for designation and to report to the Minister on whether the area should be designated as a Rent Pressure Zone. For the purpose of the Act, ‘area’ is defined as either the administrative area of a housing authority or a local electoral area within the meaning of section 2 of the Local Government Act 2001.

Previously, for an area to be designated a Rent Pressure Zone, it must have satisfied the criteria set out in section 24A(4) of the Residential Tenancies Act 2004 (as inserted by section 36 of the Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Act 2016), as follows:

(i) the annual rate of rent inflation in the area must have been 7% or more in four of the last six quarters; and

(ii) the average rent for tenancies registered in the area with the RTB in the last quarter must be above the average national rent (i.e the National Standardised Rent in the RTB’s Rent Index Report) in the last quarter (€1,169.12 per month in Q1 2019).

However, on 30 May 2019, I signed the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 2019 (Commencement) Order 2019 which appointed 31 May 2019 and 4 June 2019 as the dates on which specified provisions of the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 2019 came into effect, including provisions in respect of the average rent qualifying criterion for RPZ designation. Specifically, in relation to criteria (ii) above, the rent of a dwelling in the Greater Dublin Area (Kildare, Wicklow and Meath) will now be compared to the average rent across the country, excluding Dublin rents; and the rent of a dwelling outside of the Greater Dublin Area will be compared to the average rent across the country, excluding Greater Dublin Area rents.

Each quarterly RTB Rent Index Report includes a summary in Table 9 of the data used to establish whether each Local Electoral Area fulfils the criteria for designation as a Rent Pressure Zone. This ensures transparency in relation to the position of individual areas in terms of average rent levels and increases. The quarterly Rent Index Reports are available to view on the RTB's website at the following link: https://onestopshop.rtb.ie/news/latest-data-from-rtb-quarterly-rent-index-2.

Further information on Rent Pressure Zones and designations is available on my Department's website at www.housing.gov.ie/PUBLICATIONS, by searching 'rent pressure zones - information'.

While rental inflation in the Athy LEA has been above 7% in 4 of the last 6 quarters, the standardised average rent in Athy in Q1 2019 was €801.55, which is below the Non-Dublin Standardised Average Rent of €879.25 per month, thereby not satisfying the criteria for designation as an RPZ.

Under the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) scheme, tenants source their own accommodation in the private rented market. The tenancy agreement is between the tenant and the landlord and is governed by the Residential Tenancies Acts. The accommodation sourced by tenants should be within the prescribed maximum HAP rent limits, which are based on household size and the rental market within the area concerned.

Each local authority has statutory discretion to agree to a HAP payment up to 20% above the prescribed maximum rent limit in circumstances where it is necessary, because of local rental market conditions, to secure appropriate accommodation for a household. It is a matter for the local authority to determine if the application of the flexibility is warranted on a case by case basis.

I am satisfied that the existing arrangements under the HAP scheme provide adequate flexibility and discretion to local authorities, where necessary, to support households in securing accommodation. Accordingly, I have no plans at present to increase HAP rent limits, a course of action which could have inflationary effects on rents and thereby have a potentially detrimental impact on the wider rental market, including for those households who are not receiving HAP support.

Electoral Register

Ceisteanna (1944)

Seán Fleming

Ceist:

1944. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the position regarding the eligibility of persons who are homeless for inclusion on the register of electors in order to participate in elections; the process and systems in place to allow persons to obtain polling cards for elections; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35107/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

In order to vote at an election or a referendum a voter must be registered in the appropriate register of electors for that election or referendum. The Electoral Act 1992 provides for the registration of voters where they are ‘ordinarily resident’. Depending on the circumstances, the registration authority may consider it appropriate to register a homeless person at a particular hostel or hub where they are residing, either permanently or temporarily.

While the registration of all voters is a matter for the registration authorities, I would expect, in the circumstances, that they take a reasonable and common-sense approach to the inclusion of homeless persons in the register of electors.

Under electoral law, local returning officers are responsible at an election or a referendum for sending a polling information card to those whose name is on the register of electors. A polling information card does not confer a right to vote at an election or referendum nor is it required by a person in order to cast his or her vote. Provided a person is on the register of electors, he or she can vote.

Water and Sewerage Schemes Status

Ceisteanna (1945)

Tom Neville

Ceist:

1945. Deputy Tom Neville asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the status of a group wastewater scheme (details supplied). [35132/19]

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. Local authorities were invited to submit their bids for the funding of schemes or projects in their functional areas and Limerick City and County Council included the scheme referred to in its application to my Department under the new Programme.

My Department is currently considering local authorities' bids for funding allocations. An Expert Panel has been put in place to support the evaluation process. In addition to providing an expert perspective, the Panel brings independence, openness and transparency to the bids evaluation process which is done on a national prioritised basis. The Expert Panel’s membership includes Departmental, stakeholder and independent representation.

The Expert Panel has made recommendations to my Department on the suitability of schemes and projects for funding based on objective criteria, which are set out in the framework document issued to local authorities when requesting proposals. I expect to conclude considerations of the Panel's recommendations and to make an announcement of the allocations shortly.

Social and Affordable Housing Data

Ceisteanna (1946)

Seán Fleming

Ceist:

1946. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of approvals given to local authorities regarding unsold affordable houses that did not sell at the time and approval was given to them to be leased to an approved housing body; if local authorities can now sell these houses to the original approved housing body or another approved housing body in view of the fact that this would give security for tenants as some of the lease agreements are short term and it would also allow the approved housing body carry out maintenance on these properties and keep them in a proper condition, which they are not in a position to do so at the moment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35282/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

In April 2009, my Department issued guidance to local authorities on the use of unsold affordable dwellings as a means to meet social housing need. This was to be achieved through the social housing leasing programme and the Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS), with the dwellings being leased or managed by an Approved Housing Body (AHB) or private management company for a period of up to 5 years, with an option to extend the agreement to a maximum of 10 years. These dwellings are funded under the Social Housing Current Expenditure Programme (SHCEP). The number of unsold affordable dwellings supported by SHCEP at end 2018 was 2, 049.

As the 10 year period is now coming to an end in respect of many of these dwellings, my Department has established an internal working group to consider a long term strategy for unsold affordable dwellings. The principal task of the group is to consider options for these dwellings and facilitate consultation with local authorities, AHBs and the Housing Finance Agency (HFA) as to what future action may be appropriate.

In that regard, the Department is currently undertaking a data gathering exercise in relation to this issue. When this exercise is complete, and following consultation by the Department with all relevant stakeholders (including local authorities, AHBs and the HFA), updated guidance on the options available to local authorities in respect of their unsold affordable dwellings will be issued.

Homeless Accommodation Provision

Ceisteanna (1947, 1977)

Seán Haughey

Ceist:

1947. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the communications that took place between his Department and the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive and an approved housing body (details supplied) regarding the provision of services at a location; if funding could have been provided to renovate this building under the capital assistance scheme; his views on whether it would have been appropriate to allocate funding under this scheme that would benefit a private company endeavouring to make a profit as was proposed in this case; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35289/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Seán Haughey

Ceist:

1977. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the communications that have taken place between his Department and the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive and approved housing bodies or commercial companies regarding the provision of homeless services at a location (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36098/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 1947 and 1977 together.

My Department’s role in relation to homelessness involves the provision of a national framework of policy, legislation and funding to underpin the role of housing authorities in addressing homelessness at local level. Statutory responsibility for the provision of accommodation and related services rests with individual housing authorities.

While responsibility for the provision of accommodation for homeless persons rests with individual housing authorities, the administration of homeless services is organised on a regional basis. Within each region, a Consultative Forum exists and it is the role of the Management Group of this forum to assess the need for homeless accommodation and related services in each region, in this case the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive (DHRE).

I can confirm that an Approved Housing Body applied, in consultation with the DHRE, to my Department for capital funding, under the Capital Assistance Scheme (CAS), for the acquisition of the property referred to. This application was received by my Department in early July 2019. However, my Department was subsequently advised by the DRHE that the application for funding was being withdrawn, before an assessment of the application in question had been completed by my Department.

Social and Affordable Housing Provision

Ceisteanna (1948)

Seán Haughey

Ceist:

1948. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the communications between his Department and an approved housing body (details supplied) in respect of the provision of accommodation at a site; if the provision of funding is under consideration for this building under the capital assistance scheme; his views on whether it is appropriate to provide funding under the scheme for the benefit a private company intent on making a profit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35290/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

Under the Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan on Housing and Homelessness, 50,000 new social housing homes are to be delivered by 2021, through local authorities and Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs), using a range of funding streams including the Capital Assistance Scheme (CAS) and the Capital Advance Leasing Facility (CALF).

Market conditions in many cases mean that turnkey arrangements are highly appropriate in terms of delivery timescale and cost. Turnkeys are, in the main, homes built by developers on private land under contract for local authorities or AHBs. They are a good source of social housing that can often be delivered quickly, and often in areas where the local authority does not have land. All local authorities actively consider this source in addition to all other delivery mechanisms. These can be projects that are unbuilt but have planning permission in place, that may be unfinished/partially built/under construction, or largely completed but with ‘finishing out’ works to be done.

All funding provided to AHBs to support this activity is made available by my Department through local authorities. Indeed, local authorities, as the statutory housing authorities, are the decision makers in relation to the suitability of a proposed social housing project. For example, local authorities are required to ensure that any project appropriately reflects the housing need in that particular area and that there is sufficient need in the area to support the units over time; the properties comply with relevant standards and regulatory requirements; and the objectives of creating and maintaining sustainable communities are being met.

In recent years, the main source of funding to AHBs for social housing delivery, including turnkey projects, is through borrowings and support from local authorities through the Capital Advance Leasing Facility (CALF) and Payment and Availability (P&A) programme. The loan (capital advance) is available up to a maximum of 30% of the value of the acquisition or construction of the dwellings and it is repayable at the end of the term which can be up to 30 years. The balance of the investment required is borrowed separately by the AHB, and in the main, from the Housing Finance Agency (HFA). CALF is targeted at projects where the AHBs does not have sufficient financial capacity in the initial years of a loan to service the debt or may require some up-front capital to secure the lending in the first place. AHBs can only avail of this funding if they enter into a P&A agreement with the local authority for the same period, making the relevant properties available for social housing - providing accommodation for people on the relevant local authority’s waiting list, for the same period of time.

Applications for P&A-CALF funding are made to local authorities by AHBs and normally consist of a completed application form and a financial model showing the capital cost, income and operational costs projected over the P&A term sought, and other relevant supporting documentation.

I can confirm that an AHB applied to the relevant local authority for CALF funding to progress a turnkey project at the site referred to. The project has the support of the local authority and has met all of the requirements for funding, in line with Departmental policies and financial assessments. My Department issued formal approval for this project in May 2019.

Departmental Expenditure

Ceisteanna (1949)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

1949. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the amount expended on the renewal of licences (details supplied) by his Department since 2009 to date in 2019; the amount projected to be spent on the renewal of such licences by his Department over the next five years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35344/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

My Department spent a total of €191,531 (including VAT) on Lotus Domino Enterprise Client Access Licences from 2009 to 2019.

The system is now replaced with a Build to Share Application, developed and maintained centrally by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, and therefore there is no projected expenditure for the renewal of such licences.

Home Loan Scheme

Ceisteanna (1950)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

1950. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if there is an exception to the rule that 3% of the 10% required as a deposit must come from regular savings in the context of the Rebuilding Ireland home loan scheme in cases in which the applicant has proven an ability to pay through paying rent and can meet the deposit requirement as a result of receiving a lump sum; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35363/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan Scheme is designed to enable credit worthy first-time buyers to access sustainable mortgage lending to purchase new or second-hand properties. The low rate of fixed interest associated with the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan provides first-time buyers with access to mortgage finance that they may not otherwise have been able to afford at a higher interest rate.

To support prudential lending and consistency of treatment for borrowers, a Loan to Value ratio of 90% applies to the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan as per the Central Bank's prudential lending guidelines. Therefore, in order to avail of the loan, applicants must have a deposit equivalent to 10% of the market value of the property.

Applicants must provide bank or similar statements (such as post office, credit union etc.) for a 12-month period immediately prior to making an application, clearly showing a credible and consistent track record of savings. The cash savings should be no less than 3% of the market value of the property. Gifts are permissible up to 7% of the market value of the property, where their source is verified.

Exceptions to the above can be made where an applicant/applicants can clearly demonstrate a consistent and credible record of savings or rent payment through their bank account, which at a minimum is equal to the proposed monthly loan repayment.

For prospective purchasers of newly-built properties, the availability, through the Revenue Commissioners, of the Help to Buy Initiative for first-time buyers may provide additional assistance to prospective applicants for the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan.

Further information, including a Frequently Asked Questions section, is available on the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan website at http://rebuildingirelandhomeloan.ie.

Local Authority Management

Question No. 1952 answered with Question No. 1929.

Ceisteanna (1951)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

1951. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government when he plans to appoint a permanent chief executive to Galway County Council to replace the acting chief executive; the last date on which there was a permanent chief executive in Galway County Council; the reason for the delay in appointing a permanent chief executive; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35382/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The last permanent Chief Executive of Galway County Council retired on 4 July 2014. A temporary chief executive was appointed at that time, pending a permanent appointment. In that regard, during the intervening period there has been extensive policy development processes examining optimum arrangements for local governance in Galway. Arising from these processes, in June 2018 the Government decided in principle to implement the unanimous recommendation of the Expert Advisory Group to amalgamate Galway City and County Councils by 2021.

In order to progress matters, the Local Government Bill 2018 contained provision for a single chief executive post with dual responsibility for Galway City and County Councils, to, inter alia, progressively implement organisational integration in advance of a full merger. However, these provisions were removed from the Bill through an amendment approved in the Seanad.

In light of the foregoing, it is appropriate to review the position in relation to the filling of the post of Chief Executive of Galway County Council on a permanent basis. That process is underway and will be concluded as quickly as possible.

Question No. 1952 answered with Question No. 1929.

Capital Assistance Scheme

Ceisteanna (1953)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

1953. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the reason rent is being raised in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35410/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The property the Deputy is referring to has received funding under the Capital Assistance Scheme (CAS). Where sheltered housing is provided by Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs) under CAS, my Department’s guidance states that rents should be at levels which are reasonable having regard to tenant’s incomes and the outlay of the AHB on the accommodation.

My Department does not play a role in the setting of individual rents for CAS schemes but the relevant local authority should be consulted and should ensure that agreement on the calculation of an economic rent is in place. As responsibility for the administration of CAS is a matter for the local authority, the Deputy may wish to pursue the case referred to with Kerry County Council.

Local Authority Housing Maintenance

Ceisteanna (1954)

Danny Healy-Rae

Ceist:

1954. Deputy Danny Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if there is sufficient funding for local authorities to refurbish void houses that need to be brought up to a standard to offer to new occupants; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35461/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

Section 58 of the Housing Act 1966, provides that the management and maintenance of local authority housing stock is a matter for each individual local authority. This includes the implementation of planned maintenance programmes and carrying out of responsive repairs and pre-letting repairs.

The Voids Programme, introduced in 2014 by my Department, provides additional support to local authorities in preparing vacant units for re-letting. The purpose of the Voids Programme is to ensure that vacant units are actively targeted, with a view to minimising the turnaround and re-let time of these units and return them to use in an energy efficient condition.

Earlier this year, local authorities submitted to my Department details of their work proposals and related funding requirements for this programme in 2019. These proposals were evaluated and approval was given to proceed with works to 1,466 void properties with a remediation cost of some €27.3m. Given the availability of funding, the completion of the works concerned is now a matter for individual local authorities.

Planning Issues

Ceisteanna (1955)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

1955. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government when a decision will be made on a stage 4 approval for a housing project (details supplied) submitted to his Department on 19 July 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35479/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

In relation to the housing project referred to by the Deputy, I can confirm that stage 4 approval issued from my Department to Galway County Council on 20 August 2019.

Planning Issues

Ceisteanna (1956)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

1956. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government when a decision will be made on a stage 1 approval for a housing project (details supplied) submitted to his Department on 1 July 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35480/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

In December 2016, my Department issued Stage 1 approval for the acquisition and refurbishment of the housing project referred to by the Deputy, with an approved budget of €1.175m. The scope of the project has since been altered by the Approved Housing Body and a revised Capital Appraisal (Stage 1) was received, initially in January 2019, with further options also being provided since then. The revised project is showing substantial cost increases from the initial budget approval and my Department is liaising with Galway County Council in this regard.

Legislative Measures

Ceisteanna (1957)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

1957. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his plans to introduce legislation that includes co-living arrangements; if so, the timeline for same; if it will mirror existing legislation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35559/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The Residential Tenancies Acts 2004-2019 regulate the landlord-tenant relationship in the private rented sector, including tenancies in co-living dwellings, and set out the rights and obligations of landlords and tenants. The Residential Tenancies Acts 2004-2019 apply to every dwelling that is the subject of a tenancy, subject to a limited number of exceptions. The dwellings to which the Act does not apply are set out in section 3(2) of the Act and include, for example, a dwelling within which the landlord also resides.

The Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) was established as an independent statutory body under the Act to operate a national tenancy registration system and to resolve disputes between landlords and tenants. Where a dwelling is occupied by a person under a tenancy, arrangement or agreement to which the Act does not apply, such as instances where a bona fide licensing arrangement exists, the RTB does not have any function in relation to such agreements or arrangements.

If a dispute arises as to whether a purported licence in a co-living dwelling is in fact a tenancy, the RTB can determine the matter and if it is a tenancy, the Residential Tenancies Acts apply. Where the owner of a dwelling enters into an agreement with a person for the occupation of that dwelling, it is a private contractual matter between the parties as to whether that agreement is a licence or a tenancy.

Given the relatively new nature of this form of accommodation, my Department will monitor the emerging shared accommodation sector and is keeping all aspects under review.

Consultancy Contracts Data

Ceisteanna (1958)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

1958. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the names of external consultancies that delivered and continue to deliver advice and training on all aspects of GDPR in the context of preparedness and ongoing upskilling of staff regarding the regulation; the cost expended on the external advice and training of same to date in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35579/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

External consultancies have not, to date, been used to advise my Department on issues relating to GDPR. My Department has, however, procured in-house training on GDPR and data protection matters from three companies as detailed below. The services provided involved training staff in a classroom-type setting as well as the development of an e-learning module to be undertaken by all staff in the Department. Individual staff members have, separately, also been supported to attend GDPR-related courses and conferences hosted by external bodies.

Supplier

Description

Payment Date

Amount

AllOne Corporate Solutions Ltd

GDPR Training

12/06/2018

1,200.00

IACT (Irish Academy of Computer Training)

Provision of Departmental GDPR eLearning Module

06/02/2019

16,000.00

Colleary and Company

Data Protection Impact Assessment Training

05/03/2019

1,450.00

Tenant Purchase Scheme Review

Ceisteanna (1959, 1969, 1974, 1986)

Seamus Healy

Ceist:

1959. Deputy Seamus Healy asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the status of the review of the local authority tenant purchase scheme; if tenants have an entitlement to purchase by way of a lump sum; if Part V houses will be included in the scheme; if persons have an entitlement to purchase with income other than from employment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35626/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Niall Collins

Ceist:

1969. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his plans to allow tenants of voluntary housing agencies to purchase their homes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35766/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

1974. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if he will review the tenant (incremental) purchase scheme and the €15,000 minimum income requirement to avail of the scheme due to the significant number of persons being denied the scheme albeit living in the homes for decades in some cases; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35978/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

1986. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if local authorities will be allowed discretion regarding the income threshold under the tenant purchase scheme for isolated rural houses for which there is no housing demand; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36272/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 1959, 1969, 1974 and 1986 together.

The Housing (Sale of Local Authority Houses) Regulations 2015, provide the basis for the Tenant (Incremental) Purchase Scheme for existing local authority houses. The Scheme is open to eligible tenants, including joint tenants, of local authority houses that are available for sale under the Scheme. To be eligible, tenants must meet certain criteria, including having a minimum reckonable income of €15,000 per annum and having been in receipt of social housing support for at least one year.

The minimum reckonable income for eligibility under the scheme is determined by the relevant local authority in accordance with the detailed provisions of the Ministerial Direction issued under Sections 24(3) and (4) of the 2014 Act. In the determination of the minimum reckonable income, local authorities can include income from a number of different sources and classes, such as from employment, private pensions, maintenance payments and certain social welfare payments, including pensions, where the social welfare payment is secondary to employment income.

The scheme only provides for the purchase of local authority houses owned by the relevant local authorities and does not extend to houses owned by Approved Housing Bodies (AHB), as the ownership of these properties remains with the AHB.

The minimum income criterion was introduced in order to ensure the sustainability of the scheme. Applicants must demonstrate that they have an income that is long-term and sustainable in nature. This ensures that the tenant purchasing the house is in a financial position, as the owner, to maintain and insure the property for the duration of the charged period, in compliance with the conditions of the order transferring the ownership of, and responsibility for, the house from the local authority to the tenant.

It should be noted that the financing of any house sold under the Tenant (Incremental) Purchase Scheme is a separate matter from the eligibility criteria for the scheme. If the tenant is deemed eligible under the scheme, he or she may fund the purchase of a house from one, or a combination, of his/her own resources or a mortgage provided by a financial institution or a local authority house purchase loan.

The provisions of Part V of the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended, are designed to enable the development of mixed tenure sustainable communities. Part V homes are excluded from the Tenant (Incremental) Purchase Scheme 2016 to ensure that homes delivered under this mechanism will remain available for people in need of social housing support and that the original policy goals of the legislation are not eroded over time. The continued development of mixed tenure communities remains very important in promoting social integration.

Local authorities may also, within the provisions of the Regulations, exclude certain houses which, in the opinion of the authority, should not be sold for reasons such as proper stock or estate management. It is a matter for each individual local authority to administer the Scheme in its operational area in line with the over-arching provisions of the governing legislation for the scheme, and in a manner appropriate to its housing requirements.

In line with the commitment given in the Government's Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan on Housing and Homelessness, a review of the operation of the first 12 months of the Tenant Purchase (Incremental) Scheme has been completed and a full report has been prepared setting out findings and recommendations.

I intend to bring a comprehensive package of social housing reform measures to Government in the near future and the relevant recommendations made in the Review of the Tenant Purchase Scheme will be progressed as part of that process. Following consideration of a number of implementation issues arising, in that context, I expect to be in a position to publish the Review.

Departmental Customer Charters

Ceisteanna (1960)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

1960. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of complaints his Department received under the customer service charter in 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019; if his attention has been drawn to issues and or problems in having complaints registered; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35647/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

My Department is committed to providing a high quality service to all our customers. On occasion, it receives complaints from members of the public in relation to their interaction with the Department and we welcome these insofar as they may lead to service improvements. My Department considers every complaint received and aims to resolve it within 15 working days, in accordance with our Quality Customer Service Charter, unless there are particular reasons why this cannot be done.

The number of complaints received in my Department in since 2017 (other than Met Éireann) is set out in the first table below. Since the introduction of GDPR, my Department’s policy in relation to correspondence received in its Quality Customer Service office is to retain emails and letters for no longer than 12 months unless the issue is not resolved within that time.

Year

No of complaints

2017

4

2018

11

2019

3

The table below gives the number of complaints recorded by Met Éireann (a Division of my Department) on its customer service system and refer to a range of issues relating to its high profile service to the public. While there was a significant increase in complaints to Met Éireann in 2018, the extreme weather last year impacted on the number received, as did the introduction of Met Éireann’s new website and app, which would be expected in the early period following the introduction of new services of this kind.

Year

Number of complaints

2017

120

2018

840

2019

131

My Department’s Customer Charter and Customer Service Action Plan, which set out the complaints process, are available on my Department’s website at www.housing.gov.ie/corporate/customer-service/quality-customer-service.