Deputy Mattie McGrath
Independent Tipperary TD Mattie McGrath has said that he is deeply concerned at the growing inability of Tipperary residents to access suitable accommodation because they are in receipt of the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP).
Deputy McGrath was speaking after his office received a considerable number of communications from worried constituents who feel that they will not be able to secure a property to live in as long landlords continue to flout regulations governing the protection of prospective tenants:
“It can hardly be a massive coincidence that once a prospective tenant mentions they are in receipt of HAP then all lines of communication suddenly close up,” Deputy McGrath said.
“It is causing serious worry and anxiety out there and it must be addressed before individuals and families are literally made homeless.
“Most of the evidence is anecdotal, but at this stage it is just too hard to dismiss it as individual cases.
“We know for a fact that three tenants were recently awarded compensation after the Workplace Relations Commission found they had been discriminated against by a landlord who refused to accept the HAP; so this is a reality that is fairly widespread I would suggest.
“This is not about demonising landlords, the vast majority of whom are diligent and respectful of their tenants requirements. At the same time, many of them will you that it is the slowness of processing the HAP payment on the government side that is making the scheme untenable for them.
“That gap, between application and receipt of payment must be speeded up and a firmer set of guidelines protecting tenants needs to be out in place if we are not witness a further escalation in families unable to find accommodation,” concluded Deputy McGrath.