Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2014
Proceedings for possession against person in occupation of local authority dwelling
13. (1) In circumstances where—
(a) there is no tenancy in a dwelling other than in circumstances to which section 17 relates, or
(b) the dwelling has been abandoned by the tenant, and a person, without lawful authority or any right to become the tenant of the dwelling, resides in or otherwise occupies the dwelling (in this section referred to as a “person in occupation”), then the housing authority may apply (in this section referred to as a “possession application”) to the District Court for a possession order under this section.
(2) A possession application shall set out the grounds for the application and, where the occupier of the dwelling applied to the authority to become the tenant of the dwelling, the basis upon which the application was refused.
(3) In setting out the grounds for a possession application under this section, a housing authority shall have due regard to protecting the identity of persons who informed the authority of matters referred to in subsection (1) in circumstances where, in the opinion of the housing authority, not to do so—
(a) could render those persons or persons associated with any of them liable to violence, threat or fear as a consequence of so informing, or
(b) might otherwise have prevented those persons from so informing because of such violence, threat or fear.
(4) A housing authority shall, not less than 10 working days before the hearing by the District Court of a possession application under this section in respect of a dwelling, give to the person that the authority has reasonable grounds for believing to be the person occupying the dwelling, notice in writing—
(a) addressed to that person, or
(b) where the authority has a doubt about that person’s identity, addressed to the “occupier”,
(i) the authority’s intention to make such an application,
(ii) the information to be included in the application, and
(iii) the date on which the authority intends to make the application.
(5) The grounds referred to in subsection (2) for a possession application may be provided by information on oath given by an officer or employee of the housing authority concerned duly authorised to give that information and, for the purposes of this section shall—
(a) form part of the possession application, and
(b) be served in accordance with subsection (4) on the person occupying the dwelling.
(6) Where the person in occupation does not, without due cause, appear at the hearing of the possession application under this section and subject to subsection (7), the District Court may, where it is satisfied that there is a prima facie case for doing so, grant an order in the terms sought by the authority.
(7) The District Court may, as it thinks fit, adjourn proceedings under this section for a period fixed by the Court, with or without imposing conditions as to the conduct of the person in occupation or of persons associated with the person in occupation.
(8) Without prejudice to subsection (6), the District Court shall make a possession order under this section in respect of the dwelling that is the subject of a possession application if it appears to the Court that—
(a) the housing authority has grounds for the recovery of possession,
(b) recovery of possession by the housing authority is a proportionate response to the occupation of the dwelling by the person concerned, and
(c) it is reasonable having regard to all the circumstances of the case to make the order.
(9) A possession order under this section has the effect of giving the housing authority the right to recover possession of the dwelling, which right may be specified not to come into effect before a date specified in the order, but the date so specified shall not be more than 6 months after the date the order is made.
(10) Where the District Court (or the Circuit Court on appeal) is satisfied that it is desirable, because of the nature or circumstances of the proceedings before it under this section or that it is otherwise in the interest of justice, the whole or any part of those proceedings may be heard otherwise than in public.
(11) The jurisdiction of the District Court in respect of an application under this section may be exercised, as regards the District Court, by a judge of the District Court for the time being assigned to the District Court district where the dwelling in relation to which that application was made is situate.
(12) Where a judge of the District Court to whom subsection (11) relates is not immediately available, the jurisdiction of the District Court under that subsection may be exercised by any judge of the District Court.
(13) Nothing in the Landlord and Tenant Acts 1967 to 2008 or the Housing (Private Rented Dwellings) Acts 1982 and 1983 relating to the obtaining of possession of a dwelling or building or part thereof shall be deemed to affect this section.
(14) (a) Subject to paragraph (b), where—
(i) there is no tenancy in a dwelling or the dwelling has been abandoned by the tenant in circumstances to which section 14 has been or could be applied, and
(ii) a person makes an entry into the dwelling, or uses it for human habitation or otherwise occupies it, without the consent of the housing authority,
such person, subject to paragraph (b), commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a class C fine or, at the discretion of the court, to a term of imprisonment not exceeding one month or to both.
(b) Paragraph (a) does not apply in relation to a person—
(i) who was ordinarily resident in the dwelling at the time when the tenancy last created in the dwelling was terminated or otherwise ceased to exist,
(ii) who was ordinarily resident in the dwelling at the time the dwelling was abandoned by the tenant in circumstances to which section 14 has been or could be applied,
(iii) making an entry into the dwelling for the purposes of normal social relations with the person to whom subparagraph (i) or (ii) relates, or
(iv) making an entry into the dwelling (but not using it for human habitation) in the course of his or her ordinary business, profession, vocation or trade.