Deputy Broughan is a strong advocate for a constitutional right to housing and for a National Housing Executive overseeing a large-scale building programme of social and affordable homes.  Deputy Broughan has been a vocal opponent of the over-reliance on the private rental sector for housing tens of thousands of people in need of secure homes.

To that end, he consistently asks Parliamentary Questions around local authority output, HAP tenancies and homelessness.  Recently, Deputy Broughan received a PQ reply which stated “At the end of Q2 2019, a total of 14,478 households were reported on the HAP Shared Services Centre system as having exited HAP: this included tenant led exits; compliance exits; transfers to other forms of social housing; and landlord exits. This report is based on cessations as submitted by local authorities. Reasons for these cessations are typically provided by the tenant and/or landlord. To end Q2 2019, 399 exits from the scheme were reported as relating to property standards.”

The Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) has been operational since 2014 and is the main source of housing in Fine Gael’s Rebuilding Ireland strategy.  The 2019 HAP target was for 16,760 additional tenancies, 17,000 were set up during 2018 to add to the 36,000 by the end of 2017.  Once you are placed in a HAP tenancy you are considered to have your social housing needs met and will be taken off the list unless you apply to go on the transfer list.  Deputy Broughan has argued that the private rental sector is too dysfunctional currently to provide stability and security to those with social housing needs.

A follow-up Parliamentary Question revealed that almost 5,000 tenants exited HAP, and over 4,100 landlords exited the scheme.  There were 2,020 compliance exits and over 3,300 transferred to other forms of social housing.  A PQ reply relating to people relocating to outside of Dublin stated that as of June 2019, 483 HAP recipients sourced accommodation outside of Dublin despite being on Dublin waiting lists.

The table below details the total number of closed/exit tenancies at the end of Q2 2019.

Category Number of tenancies
Tenant led exits 4,977
Compliance exits 2,020
Transfers to other forms of social housing 3,304
Landlord exits 4,177
Total 14,478

Deputy Broughan says “While I understand that people must receive housing assistance while awaiting proper, secure housing, I have always been critical of the over-reliance on the private rental sector to be used as social housing.  It is interesting to see that in its 5 years in operation there have been 14,500 exits with similar numbers of tenants and landlords exiting the scheme.  Transfers into more appropriate forms of social housing is welcome of course.  But 3,304 transfers as indicated in the reply means that under 25% of exits moved into other forms of social housing.  I would hope that in examining these figures the Minister and his Officials are seriously reviewing the operation of HAP.”