Families who turn down two offers of social housing will face five-year suspension - reports

Families who turn down two offers of social housing will not get another one for five years under stricter government plans.

At the moment, anyone who rejects two offers is suspended from the waiting list for a year.

Ministers have now been advised that the current rules are not enough of a deterrent to turning down social housing.

The Irish Times reports that the main reasons for people rejecting offers are the home being too far away from the applicant's family and the area having problems with drugs or antisocial behaviour.

Peter McVerry of the Peter McVerry Trust says people turn down social houses for a number of reasons.

"A local authority may only have a three-bedroom house available, you could have a large family with four or five children who say 'no that's not acceptable and as my children grow older this would become less acceptable'," said Mr McVerry.

"This would have to be done flexibly."

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