The government is considering a plan to give councils the power to step in earlier and help renters at risk of homelessness

Councils will have the power to prevent the homelessness of social housing tenants at risk of eviction sooner, according to proposals being considered by the government.

The law change would only apply to renters who receive Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) or have tenancies covered by the Residential Accommodation Scheme (RAS).

Opposition parties have been pushing for a bill called the Simon Homeless Prevention Bill on behalf of the charity Simon Community.

The proposal was presented to senior ministers in the Cabinet subcommittee on housing in recent weeks. It is now understood that the government will examine the proposal.

The eviction notice is announced at the same time as the tenant and can intervene at an early stage to prevent the household from becoming homeless. This may mean buying the house or taking other measures to prevent the family from becoming homeless, such as finding a home. B. the search for another suitable accommodation.

Legislation can be changed by amending existing laws.

Councils must be “satisfied” that renters are “threatened” with homelessness and then take “reasonable steps” to ensure families are not left homeless.

“This will ensure that the local authorities are also informed so that they can intervene at a much earlier stage so they may be able to assess whether they can buy the house if the house is sold,” a senior government source said.

“This means the local authority can work with the tenant as soon as they know they may be at risk of homelessness, rather than weeks before the eviction date.”

The Simon Community’s Homeless Prevention Bill passed phase two in late 2021 in the Dáil. It was introduced by a coalition of Labour, People Before Profit, Right to Change, Sinn Féin, Social Democrat and independent TDs.

At the time, the Simon Community said the new law would give renters at risk of homelessness “more time to secure a home with the support of their local authorities and organizations like Simon”.

The charity welcomed the news that the law is now under active review.

A spokesman said Irish Independent the law change would be “a targeted moratorium on evictions”.

“The combination of alignment and contact with local authority is crucial as it puts the person or family at risk of homelessness to the attention of their local authority,” he said. “With the breathing space secured by the powers in the bill, the local authority then has the option to introduce supports to redirect the household to another home or to implement other options such as preventing homelessness.”

The move comes as the homeless number now stands at 11,632, the highest number in state history. The government is now faced with calls to extend the ban on evictions beyond the end of March. The government is considering a plan to give councils the power to step in earlier and help renters at risk of homelessness

Fry Electronics Team

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