The 2009 Act Chapter 4 provides the legislative basis for the rental accommodation scheme. Under the scheme owners may make houses available to housing authorities for agreed periods for letting to qualified tenants nominated by the Authority in accordance with the Housing Authority\’s allocation scheme. The Housing Authority pays the rent and the tenant pays an income-based contribution to the Housing Authority.
A qualified tenant is one who is qualified for social housing support under a rental accommodation availability agreement. The rental accommodation provider makes a dwelling available under the scheme for letting to qualified persons.
The letting is subject to the Residential Tenancies Act 2004. The tenants are not tenants of the Housing Authority but of the private landlord. The terms of the registered tenancy are provided for under the 2004 Act and the 2009 act.
Chapter 4 tenancy under the 2009 act superimposes additional conditions in the case of a registered agreement. Where the Housing Authority becomes aware of breaches of the terms of the tenancy agreement or of antisocial behaviour, it may notify the landlord and require him to serve notice of termination.
Part 4 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009 provides for the purchase by local Authority tenants of apartments of their accommodation.
A local Authority may designate an apartment complex for the purpose of making the apartments available to tenants for sale. This is subject to condition that the Housing Authority considers the sale consistent with good estate management of its overall dwelling stock in accordance with policy objectives in its housing services plan relating to management and maintenance of dwellings owned by the Housing Authority.
The apartment complex must be suitable for designation having regard to the configuration of the complex or by reference to design and layout of the common areas structures, works and service
the annual cost of managing and maintaining the apartment complex and providing for a future capital works to preserve and improve it
the number of apartments available for use.
The Authority must be satisfied, where structural work has been carried out within the previous 10 years or in any other case where a survey on the structural condition has been carried out in the previous five years, that the apartment is in good, structural condition, order and repair. It must not be subject to reconstruction proposals; improvement works or be in an area planned for regeneration.
The Housing Authority must first prepare a draft, provide certain information and seek the tenants’ views. It must be published online. The proposal to designate the apartment must be approved by elected members of the Council. Alternatively, the manager may decide not to proceed.
A vote of the tenants is required. A 65 percent vote in favour of designation is required. Owners must indicate their willingness to act as directors. The proposals may only proceed provided at least the specified minimum numbers are prepared to vote in favour and a minimum number of directors are available.
An owners\’ management company must be established. Each apartment owner including purchased apartments, become members of the owners management company. The Housing Authority may decide not to designate any director, in certain circumstances.
The 2009 Act specifies particular matters in respect of the owners\’ management company which replicate the Multiunit Development Act. The Housing Authority must transfer the common areas for a nominal consideration to the management company. This is subject to tenancy agreements with the Housing Authority and sale deeds by way of long lease.
The management company must grant for nominal consideration a lease to the Housing Authority in relation to each apartment by means of an apartment transfer order. The consent of the OMC is not required for sales or lettings.
The Housing Authority may enter a property service agreement with the owners\’ management company for the provision of property management services in relation to the apartment block.
Sales of the apartments take place by way of a charging order creating a reducing charge in favour of the local Authority in respect of the discount given in accordance with a formula. This may be suspended if the apartment owner is not compliant with the terms and conditions of the order.
Where the apartment purchaser proposes to sell during the charging period, he must give notice. The Authority may purchase the apartment for a sum equal to current value reduced by the proportion representing the Authority\’s share.
Housing authorities have special powers to recover possession of houses provided by them. They may make an application to the District Court for a warrant of recovery of possession where there is one-month arrears, where the dwelling house has been abandoned or is unoccupied. The court has no discretion in relation to the issue of a warrant for possession once the requisite conditions are shown.
Housing authorities also have special powers in relation to recovery of houses for which they have provided loans for construction, repair and improvement.
Housing authorities have special powers to obtain possession of a property where a person is engaging in anti-social behavior. This includes drug dealing or behavior causing danger, damage or fear to persons in the vicinity. It may include harassment, intimidation or violence.
A tenant or member of a local authority may apply for an exclusion order against a member of his household who is engaging in antisocial behavior. The local authority may apply to the District Court for an exclusion order as may a member of a household. The order makes exclude the person from house or an entire estate. It may prohibit certain types of behavior.
Rent supplement may be withdrawn where a person has been evicted, excluded or removed from local authority housing on the basis of anti-social behavior
The Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1997 contained provisions to prevent harassment and intimidation. An application may be made to the District Court for an order against a tenant engaging in antisocial behaviour. This includes the manufacture, preparation, importation and the supply of drugs.
A fellow tenant or the local authority may apply to court. The Housing Authority may apply where, having consulted with the tenant, they believe the tenant may be afraid to do so.
An excluding order may be granted by the court on such terms as is required taking account of the interest of tenants, owners and occupiers in the enjoyment of the property and the need to prevent antisocial behaviour. The exclusion order may be made for 3 years. The court may hear the evidence of Gardai.
Where a property is occupied illegally by a person other than the tenant and the person fails to vacate, the Housing Authority may request the Gardai to direct the person to leave the house in a peaceable manner. Where the person fails to comply, the Gardai have power to enter the property using force. Failure to comply with directions is a criminal offence.