Anti-social behaviour and rent arrears in social housing
If you are renting your home from a local authority, you have certain responsibilities. For example, you must pay the rent on time and not engage in anti-social behaviour.
If you don’t keep these responsibilities, you may end up losing your home. If you are affected by anti-social behaviour, you should call the Gardaí to report it, and contact your local authority.
If you are having trouble paying rent, you should contact your local authority immediately so you can try and find a solution.
What is anti-social behaviour in social housing?
Anti-social behaviour in social housing means being involved in drug-dealing or in any behaviour that might cause danger, injury, damage or fear to people living in the area.
This could be through:
Local authorities can evict anyone who is engaging in anti-social behaviour.
What if someone in my household is engaging in anti-social behaviour?
You can apply for an excluding order against a member of your household who is engaging in anti-social behaviour. An excluding order is a legal order that can prevent someone from going somewhere or from having contact with someone. The order may:
- Exclude the person from a specific home or from an entire estate
- Forbid the person from intimidating, harassing or interfering with you or anyone else
It may be difficult for you to do this if you are the victim of the anti-social behaviour. So, the local authority or approved housing body can apply to the District Court for an excluding order against any member of your household who is engaging in anti-social behaviour.
What are the consequences of anti-social behaviour in social housing?
Local authorities can evict you for anti-social behaviour.
Your local authority should send you a tenancy warning notice about the anti-social behaviour, before it begins the process to repossess your home. However, they may not need to issue a tenancy warning if there is very serious anti-social behaviour. You can ask for a review of the tenancy warning.
If you don’t deal with the anti-social behaviour, the local authority can begin the proceedings to take possession of your home.
If you are evicted, excluded or removed from local authority housing because of anti-social behaviour:
- You may not be accepted on any local authority housing list again
- You may not be allowed to buy your local authority home under a Tenant Purchase Scheme
- The Department of Social Protection may refuse or withdraw Rent Supplement for a private rented property
If you’ve received a tenancy warning, exclusion order or repossession order, you should get legal advice.
Who do I contact about anti-social behaviour in social housing?
If you are a local authority tenant who is affected by anti-social behaviour, contact your local authority.
If you are the tenant of an approved housing body, you should contact the approved housing body.
You can also contact the Garda Síochána to report the behaviour.
There is useful information on our website about neighbour disputes.
What are rent arrears in social housing?
If you are renting your home from a local authority, you agree to pay a weekly rent. Your rent is based on your household's income and your ability to pay. If you can’t pay the rent, for whatever reason, you will build up rent arrears.
What should I do if I can’t pay the rent?
If you can’t pay the rent for your local authority housing, you should talk to your local authority immediately to discuss the arrears. They will work with you to try find a solution. They can:
- Reduce your rent if your income decreases, or your circumstances change. For example, if you lose your job, or an adult in the household moves out.
- Agree a repayment plan with you. This means you will pay off a certain amount of the rent arrears each week in addition to your normal weekly rent.
- Provide support for you to stay in your home through a tenancy sustainment programme. This programme is aimed at people in rent arrears.
- Reduce your rent if there is a particular reason to do so. For example, the local authority can reduce your rent if your household is badly affected by exceptional social factors that make it difficult for the house to function or to pay the rent, or if it would cause undue hardship for your household to pay the full rent. This reduction in rent is provided under a hardship clause.
If you don’t arrange to pay off the arrears, you could end up losing your home.
What happens if I don’t pay my rent arrears?
Local authorities are used to dealing with rent arrears issues, so if you fall behind with your payments you should contact them immediately to try and come to a solution. If you don’t contact your local authority about your arrears, they may start the process to evict you.
The local authority cannot evict you unless the District Court feels it is reasonable to do so in the circumstances. The local authority must send you a tenancy warning notice about the rent arrears before it begins the process. You can ask for a review of the tenancy warning. If you don’t pay the rent arrears or arrange a repayment plan, the local authority can begin the process of taking your home.
If you are in rent arrears, you may be unable to:
- Transfer to another local authority home
- Get your local authority to do maintenance on your home, apart from emergency maintenance
If you are evicted for rent arrears, you may not be accepted on any local authority housing list again.
Who do I contact if I am in rent arrears?
You should contact the Housing Section of your local authority if you have any issues paying your rent.
You can also contact the Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS) for advice about rent arrears. MABS is a free, confidential service for people who are having problems with debt and money management.