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Budget 2020

In our 2020 pre-budget submission, Threshold has put forward a comprehensive set of recommendations designed to

  1. prevent homelessness,
  2. increase sustainability in the PRS;
  3. improve the standards and energy efficiency of housing in the PRS,
  4. render the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) fit-for-purpose,
  5. protect tenants’ deposits and increase the supply and provision of affordable housing.

Changes at a structural level are required to truly address the causes of homelessness in tandem with targeted investment and policies to prevent homelessness. Threshold’s recommendations are designed to bring about a realisation of a rental sector that is attractive, viable and secure within the broader housing landscape. There is a much stronger role for the State in the achievement of this vision. A recognition of housing as a right, as a basic social need as opposed to a commodity is a necessary starting point if Government housing policy is to be successful.

 

Threshold’s Recommendations for Budget 2020

 

Preventing Homelessness  

  • Increase funding for primary and secondary homeless prevention services such as the Tenancy Protection Service (TPS) provided by Threshold.
  • Increase promotion of these services to the public on a national level.

Indefinite Tenancies

  • Promote long term leases via use of the taxation system.
  • Remove “no reason” evictions (Section 34b) from the Residential Tenancies Act 2004Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) Limits

Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) limits

  • Review the HAP limits upward to reflect the changes in market rent.
  • Alternatively, undertake a cost-benefit analysis to determine the impact that removing HAP limits entirely would have on rents in the PRS.

HAP and the Interim Tenancy Sustainment Protocol

  • Provide an Interim Tenancy Sustainment Protocol (ITSP) for HAP to ensure no one loses their home or enters homelessness as a result of a rent increase

Deposit Protection Scheme and Definition of a Deposit

  • Implement a custodial model Deposit Protection Scheme.
  • Introduce a legal definition of a deposit.
  • Limit a deposit to one month’s rent.

Housing Options

  • Increase housing stock held by Local Authorities and AHBs to 20%-25% of total housing stock through direct build over a 20 year building programme.

Cost Rental

  • Increase development and provision of cost rental on scale at an increased pace and set rents according to ability to pay.

Improving Standards

  • Introduce an NCT for Housing through self-certification or through a re-ordering of the current system.
  • Introduce a minimum energy efficiency standard in the Housing (Standards for Rented Houses) Regulations 2019.
  • Direct revenues from the carbon tax into schemes to improve energy efficiency in the PRS stock.

Rent Register

  • Introduce a dwelling specific rent register

Build affordable homes on vacant land

  • Increase the vacant site levy
  • Close off loopholes in the Urban Regeneration and Housing Act 2015 which are preventing construction
  • Establish an informed plan to begin construction on these sites

Licensees

  • Consider abolishing licenses and replace them with circumscribed tenancy rights.

Banks and Receivers

  • Amend the legal definition of a landlord to explicitly include both lending institutions and receivers.

 

Saving Homes - Budget 2020 - Pre-budget Submission

Threshold's Pre-Budget Submission Press Statement -

Government must fund homeless prevention in Budget

Budget 2020 - Threshold disappointed with budget measures - Flow of families into homelessness to continue