“52 weeks rule” frequently incorrectly applied by local authorities
This decision is important as MLRC is aware, through clients and through discussion with organisations working in the field of homelessness, that non-nationals are very frequently being refused access to the housing list for this reason – that they do not have a record of 52 weeks employment in the State. This criterion of 52 weeks employment concerns the applicant’s right to reside in the State. While the applicant may not have a record of 52 weeks employment in the State, they may very well have a right to reside here based on other grounds. In this case, our client has a right to reside in the State as an EU citizen who is a family member of an EU citizen working in the State.
Our client, an EU national, had separated from her husband, also an EU national. She was living in private rented accommodation with her children. She has a right to reside in the State as an EU citizen who is a family member of an EU citizen working in the State. She made an application to be included on the local authority’s list for social housing support. The local authority refused and gave as the reason for the refusal that she could not provide evidence of “having 52 weeks employment in the Republic of Ireland as she is a non-Irish citizen.
MLRC made representations on our client’s behalf to the local authority stating that
(i) a record of 52 weeks employment in the State is not a requirement for entry onto the housing list under the Housing Acts nor the Social Housing Assessment Regulations, SI 84 of 2011.
(ii) our client is lawfully resident in the State in accordance with Directive 2004/38/EC (the Citizenship Directive) and associated Regulations; and
(iii) our client did not fall within any express exclusion for entry onto the housing list.
The local authority reviewed our client’s application for social housing support and has now included her on its housing list. It also issued her with a housing needs assessment letter which enables her to make an application for rent supplement and continue to live in the private rented property in which she currently resides with her children.
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