In our 2020 pre-budget submission, Threshold has put forward a comprehensive set of recommendations designed to
- prevent homelessness,
- increase sustainability in the PRS;
- improve the standards and energy efficiency of housing in the PRS,
- render the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) fit-for-purpose,
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Increase development and provision of cost rental on scale at an increased pace and set rents according to ability to pay.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
Threshold's Pre-Budget Submission Press Statement -