Dáil Éireann - Volume 679 - 31 March, 2009

Written Answers. - Local Authority Housing.

Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the rules and regulations on housing associations that must be passed on to tenants of these associations. [13612/09]

Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the protection there is for tenants of housing association houses. [13613/09]

Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the checks his Department carries out in respect of the way the housing association housing schemes operate. [13012/09]

Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government if he will provide this Deputy with a copy of a tenancy agreement with a housing association housing scheme. [13013/09]

  Deputy Michael Finneran: I propose to answer Questions Nos. 373, 374, 384 and 385 together.

My Department’s involvement with the voluntary and co-operative housing schemes relates primarily to the provision of funds for individual projects. The detailed administration of the schemes, and the certification that projects comply with the terms and conditions of the funding schemes, are the responsibility of the local authority. Approved housing bodies are responsible for the proper management and maintenance of dwellings provided under the terms of the funding schemes and for the operation of letting policies, the fixing of rents and compliance with all relevant statutory requirements. The local authority is responsible for ensuring that approved housing bodies comply with the requirements in relation to letting policy including the requirement for prior consultation and agreement on letting policies for each new project.

In the case of family type accommodation provided under the Capital Loan and Subsidy Scheme, all tenants must be drawn from the local authority social housing waiting list. The rent payable to an approved housing body, by a tenant, is determined in accordance with the rent formula as set out in the scheme. This may be modified, at the discretion of the approved housing body, in particular respects where they consider this appropriate. Rents are based on household and subsidiary income in the previous tax year. Where this would result in hardship arising from a fall in income due to loss of employment, disability etc, the rent may be adjusted accordingly.

[227] In the case of accommodation provided under the Capital Assistance Scheme (CAS), which is aimed at persons with special housing needs such as the elderly, the homeless or persons with an intellectual or physical disability, rents are charged at a reasonable rate having regard to tenants’ income. In cases where an approved housing body contributes a minimum of 5% of the capital cost of a CAS funded project, the approved body may retain nomination rights, outside of the local authority waiting list, for up to 25% of the units. In these circumstances, the normal landlord/tenant arrangements apply.

The Irish Council for Social Housing (ICSH) and the National Association of Building Co-operatives (Nabco) are the representative bodies for the voluntary and co-operative housing sector in Ireland. Both organisations provide promotion, information, advice and training services to approved housing bodies. The ICSH provides a range of housing management services to approved housing bodies including a Housing Association Performance Management framework which aims to promote good housing management practice and to demonstrate accountability to customers and stakeholders. The ICSH also makes available a Standard Tenancy Agreement for Housing Associations as well as Rent Books for use by approved housing bodies, details of which are available on the ICSH website at www.icsh.ie.