3,000 social housing offers turned down in past two years

More than 3,000 offers of social housing properties were turned down over the past two years, with figures showing the rate of refusal has increased in some of the country’s largest local authorities, writes Noel Baker.

3,000 social housing offers turned down in past two years

More than 3,000 offers of social housing properties were turned down over the past two years, with figures showing the rate of refusal has increased in some of the country’s largest local authorities, writes Noel Baker.

Most refusals were for reasons such as the size of the property offered, or unsuitable location, although there were some distinctive reasons provided in other cases.

Two offers made in Wicklow were refused because the applicant wanted “a cottage on its own”.

In Wexford, the fact that only a street view was on offer was cited in one case. In South Dublin four applicants would not take up an offer because they said they were feuding with other families in the area; one person said they did not like the external aspect of the apartment building; and another person said there was “too many steps outside to front door”.

Data provided under Freedom of Information also shows the likelihood of an offer of social housing being turned down is not necessarily highest in more populated areas.

While the local authority area with the highest number of refusals was Dublin City, at 615 for both years combined, there were 247 refusals in the same period in Co Donegal. By contrast, Fingal had just 89 refusals across both years, Limerick City and County had 72 and Galway City had 33.

Cork City Council, in addition to a total of 468 refusals of an offer of social housing across both years, also highlighted the large proportion of “unreasonable” refusals.

Just 46 of the 468 refusals across both years were deemed “reasonable” by the housing department within the local authority, with the remainder considered “unreasonable”.

According to a spokesman for Cork City Council: “It should be noted that the refusal rate for offers of property have declined significantly since the introduction of the Choice Based Letting (CBL) system in late 2015.

“As part of the terms and conditions of use of the CBL system, any applicant who places a bid on a property and subsequently declines the offer of the property on unreasonable grounds has their application deferred for a period of one year.

2On this basis, there are fewer instances of applicants refusing multiple offers than may previously have been the case.”

The number of multiple refusals were relatively low in most local authority areas, although Cork City Council said there were 371 instances of one refusal, 36 instances where an applicant refused twice, seven cases where an applicant turned down three offers and one case in which someone turned down four offers.

Figures from Kerry County Council also indicated a high rate of “unreasonable” refusals. Of the 61 refusals in total across the two years, 46 were deemed unreasonable.

Threshold CEO John-Mark McCafferty said: “Location is a key reason [for refusals]. The property could be away from schools, and/or family circumstances could have changed since application.”

This article first appeared in the Irish Examiner.

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