Dáil Éireann - Volume 543 - 06 November, 2001
Written Answers. - Private Rented Accommodation.
Mr. L. Burke Mr. L. Burke
77. Mr. L. Burke asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government if a decision has been reached as to the way successor tenants should be dealt with in July 2002; and if he has satisfied himself that the estimate of numbers is accurate. [21941/01]
Mr. G. Mitchell Mr. G. Mitchell
102. Mr. G. Mitchell asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government if, further to Parliamentary Questions Nos. 147 of 17 October 2001, 200 of 16 May 2001, 114 of 8 February 2001 and 155 of 18 October 2000, he will state when the first survey of local authorities took place in relation to rent controlled dwellings; the number of postal surveys sent out; the number of replies received; the number of residents in these dwellings who may be affected; the measures his Department is considering to address the issue; the date on which he expects to make proposals to relieve this situation in view of the deadline of July 2002; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25975/01]
Mr. Neville Mr. Neville
132. Mr. Neville asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government if he has reached a conclusion on the way in which he will deal with the problem facing successor tenants who will face market rents in 2002 when the 20 year protection afforded when rents were deregulated comes to an end. [26123/01]
Mr. Molloy Mr. Molloy
Minister of State at the Department of the Environment and Local Government (Mr. Molloy): I propose to take Questions Nos. 77, 102 and 132 together.
The Housing (Private Rented Dwellings) Act, 1982, confers a right to retain, as a tenant, possession of a formerly rent controlled dwelling for the lifetime of the person who was the tenant at the commencement of the Act on 26 July 1982 and for the lifetime of their spouse. Where a member or successive members of the tenant's family succeeded to the tenancy within 20 years of the commencement of the Act, the right to retain possession under the 1982 Act continues to 25 July 2002 with a secured minimum tenancy period of five years even where this may extend beyond that date. Once protection ceases under the 1982 Act, successor tenants may apply to the courts for a renewable lease of up to 35 years under the provisions of the Landlord and Tenant (Amendment) Act, 1980.
 In an effort to establish the number of tenants remaining in the sector and their status local authorities, at the request of my Department, carried out a survey of landlords in March 1999. As the results from this survey were unsatisfactory, local authorities were requested in October 2000 to carry out a further survey directed this time to the tenants. This was supplemented by notices in the national media which alerted tenants to the fact that the survey was being undertaken and asked them to contact their local authority if the authority did not include them in the survey.
A total of 8,489 properties, identified from local authorities' registers of formerly rent controlled dwellings, were surveyed and 5,360 replies were received. Based on the survey results, it is estimated that some 1,700 properties currently remain within the sector, the majority of which are occupied by original tenants and-or their spouses whose right to remain in the dwelling will not be affected. It is estimated that the tenure rights of less than 600 successor tenants nationally will be affected by the changes to come into effect in July 2002.
I am concerned, in particular, at the extent to which rent levels payable by successor tenants might increase in the post July 2002 situation. In consultation with the Department of Social, Community and Family Affairs, my Department is considering what action may be appropriate to support the situation of low income successor tenants and I intend that this matter should be resolved before the end of the year. Landlords and tenants affected will be advised of their rights in good time before the changes are due to take effect.
Dáil Éireann 543 Written Answers. Private Rented Accommodation.