New rules will prevent troublemakers from getting housing

People in receipt of rent supplement must now complete a Garda vetting process before being
People in receipt of rent supplement must now complete a Garda vetting process before being allocated housing.

Local authority tenants who have a criminal record “that may impact on good estate management” will no longer be accepted to the Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS) under a new anti-social behaviour strategy.

The draft strategy debated at this week’s Galway City Council meeting updates the one adopted in 2010 to incorporate the Housing Act 2014, which strengthens the power of housing authorities to secure court orders excluding individuals engaged in anti-social behaviour from local authority housing and estates.

The Act defines anti-social behaviour as “violence threats, intimidation, coercion, harassment or serious obstruction of any person”. It covers behaviour which causes “any significant or persistent impairment of a person’s use or enjoyment of his or her home” and includes damage or defacement of any property.

The definition does not include “noise or nuisance”.

The new strategy stipulates that before a person in receipt of rent supplement can be accepted onto RAS, they must complete a Garda vetting process and “have no criminal convictions that may impact on good estate management”.

“In this regard, Galway City Council will conduct background checks on all potential RAS tenants before the RAS tenancy is established in the interests of good estate management.”

Tenants must also undergo “mandatory pre-tenancy training and induction” provided by the Council’s housing estate liaison officers before moving into any social housing unit.

The Acting Director of Services for Housing and Social Inclusion, Patricia Philbin, said the strategy sets a clear set of procedures for dealing with anti-social complaints and the role and function of the council in addressing and resolving anti-social behaviour in estates.
For the rest of this story and the discussion in the Council chamber, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. Buy a digital edition of this week’s paper here, or download the app for Android or iPhone.