At the July Monthly Meeting of Kilkenny County Council held on Friday last, the Elected Members of Kilkenny County Council approved the adoption of policies to assist the housing office to better manage local authority tenancies and to ensure that households most in need of assistance are prioritised for local authority housing.
Director of Services, Mary Mulholland, outlined the need for closer oversight of tenancies. She outlined that one of the reasons for this is the increasing number of complaints around anti-social behaviour where the local authority was not aware that the person involved in that behaviour was living at the address. The local authority has worked hard in the last two years to increase its activity in dealing with anti-social behaviour and as part of the increased activity in tenancy management, it has become clear that tenancies where the occupants are not known are more difficult to manage. Every local authority tenant is required to get the consent of the local authority, as landlord, before they allow any person to reside at their home. This is known as an application for “right to reside”. No person should be living at a local authority tenancy unless named on the tenancy, declared for rent purposes and permitted as a result of a “right to reside” application. It is the tenant’s responsibility to ensure that the local authority is aware of all persons living at an address.
Officials also outlined difficulties arising with requests from family members to succeed tenancies following the death of tenants. There has been a significant increase in applications from families and individuals to take over tenancies. In many cases the local authority is not in a position to agree to this where families are not eligible for social housing, have not been living at the property or other issues arise. The adoption of a policy on succession of tenancy will make it clear for people when a succession of tenancy is eligible and when it is not, to avoid undue stress for people and to allow the housing office to better manage its public housing stock, which must be retained to meet the requirements of households in the greatest need of assistance.
Currently Kilkenny County Council has over 1,500 households assessed as in need of social housing supports, with a further 200 in need of a transfer to more suitable accommodation and more than 80 households facing termination of tenancy in the private rented sector. It is essential that all social housing stock is used to meet these needs in a fair and equitable way.
Mary Mulholland said “Kilkenny County Council is committed to effectively managing public housing to meet the requirements of our citizens in greatest need of support. Both of these measures will help us to provide a better service for tenants and communities overall.”