Our client presented to us as she was in emergency accommodation with her children having been evicted in March 2014 for rent arrears accrued unknowingly over a ten year period. Her social housing support application had been deferred and the reason given was due to ‘rent arrears from former voluntary housing tenancy’. She faced two connected issues: the postponement of her social housing support application until her rent arrears were cleared and the postponement on the decision on homeless priority.
The Council deemed that our client had made herself homeless and for that reason had not been awarded homeless priority. As our client was deemed ineligible for social housing support within the meaning of section 20 of the 2009 Act, then she was also not eligible for rent supplement pursuant to section 198(3F)(a).
Under the current legislation our client was not eligible for social housing support unless she either a) entered into a rescheduling arrangement for her arrears or b) established that her failure to honour a previous rescheduling arrangement was due to circumstances beyond her control, whether financial or arising from the actions of the housing association.
We advocated and made representations on behalf of our client with the Council. The Dublin City Council 2013 Allocation scheme does not include any reference to the manner in which a person becomes homeless as a basis for determining whether they are in fact homeless and to impose an additional criterion relating to whether a person was responsible for their own homelessness, then this would seem prima facie to be unlawful. Our client managed to secure funds and cleared her arrears and is now in receipt of social housing support with homeless priority.
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