A major promise from the Government’s counter-motion when lifting the Eviction Ban, was to invest in and allow for the expansion of the Tenant-in-Situ Scheme.
The tenant-in-situ scheme encourages local authorities to purchase properties that landlords are planning to sell, where there is an existing tenant in receipt of the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) or the Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS). In March, the Government increased the number of social housing acquisitions from 200 to 1500 for this year alone. The additional 1,300 acquisitions were said to be focused on the purchase of properties where a HAP or RAS tenant have received a notice of termination.
Multiple County and City Councils offer this kind of assistance to tenants who have received notice of termination as seen on their websites. However, figures show that there has been very little uptake of this scheme so far. According to the Irish Times, only 13 houses out of the 400 that were offered to the Dublin councils were purchased last year. Dublin City Council has since claimed to have purchased 25 with a further number of houses closing sale soon.
At a Joint Committee Hearing on Housing, Local Government and Heritage on 21st March, questions were raised over the reasons for the low number of purchases to date. Coilín O’Reilly from the County and City Management Association (CCMA) said it takes an average of four months for local authorities to acquire a property under the scheme. We have received multiple calls from older adults who have been given their notice of termination and have received confusing or incorrect information from their local authority about the scheme.
One older person has been trying to access any kind of assistance since first receiving the notice of termination last year. Over this period of time, the person in question has been either misinformed or redirected to other authorities or organisations multiple times. One local authority even claimed that they had never heard of the Tenant-in-Situ scheme and there seems to be a severe lack of information around the scheme in general. With so many people at risk of becoming homeless in the very near future, we ask the Government to please advise all local authorities and their staff of all of the supports available and to make the information more readily available to the public.
Please contact either your local authority, TD, councilor, Threshold, Alone or Focus Ireland if you are at risk of becoming homeless. We would also advise that you check the particulars of your notice of termination to ensure your landlord as adhered to the law. You can follow the guidelines on what to look out for here.