Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2014
Proceedings for possession of local authority dwelling
12. (1) Where a tenant or a member of his or her household breaches a tenancy agreement or rent-related obligation, the housing authority may, subject to subsection (3), apply (in this section referred to as a “possession application”) to the District Court for a possession order under this section.
(2) A housing authority may make a possession application in respect of a dwelling under this section notwithstanding the fact that there may be in progress a review of a tenancy warning that relates to a breach of a type referred to in subsection (1) that is of a similar nature to the breach to which the possession application relates.
(3) (a) Subject to paragraph (b), 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 the tenant notice in writing of—
(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.
(b) In a case where the housing authority is satisfied that the breach of the tenancy agreement to which the possession application relates has had or is having a significant or persistent detrimental effect on the quality of life of those in the locality of the dwelling, the authority shall, not later than at the time that it makes the possession application, give a copy of the possession application to the tenant.
(4) A possession application shall set out—
(a) the grounds for the application, that is to say, the term of the tenancy agreement or rent-related obligation that is alleged to have been breached and the nature and occasion of the breach including the name of the person (if that name is readily available to the housing authority) who caused the breach and, where relevant, the significant or persistent detrimental effect of the breach on the quality of life of those in the locality of the dwelling,
(b) where any housing authority previously issued a tenancy warning to or in respect of a person within the period of 5 years prior to the date of the application and such person is the tenant of the dwelling to which the application relates or is a member of the tenant’s household, the terms of that warning and the outcome of any request for its review, irrespective of whether or not the breach the subject of that warning is of a similar nature to the breach to which the possession application relates,
(c) where the housing authority did not issue a tenancy warning in relation to the breach to which the application relates, a statement as to why the housing authority did not do so,
(d) where the housing authority did not issue a notice to the tenant under subsection (3) (a), a statement as to why the housing authority did not do so, and
(e) whether or not the situation specified in subsection (2) applies and, if it does apply, a statement as to why the housing authority is seeking the possession order while the tenancy warning is under review.
(5) In setting out the grounds for a possession application under this section, a housing authority shall, where appropriate, have due regard to protecting the identity of persons who informed it of the breach 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.
(6) The grounds for a possession application referred to in subsection (4) 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 on the tenant concerned in accordance with subsection (3).
(7) Where the tenant does not, without due cause, appear at the hearing of the possession application under this section and subject to subsection (8), 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.
(8) 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 tenant or a household member, payment of either or both rent and rent arrears, or otherwise.
(9) (a) Without prejudice to subsection (7), the District Court shall make a possession order in respect of the dwelling the subject of a possession application under this section if it appears to the Court that the housing authority has grounds for the recovery of possession and that it is reasonable having regard to all the circumstances of the case to make the order.
(b) In considering the reasonableness of making a possession order under this section, the District Court shall, where appropriate, have regard to the following:
(i) the steps taken by the housing authority to secure the cessation or non- repetition of the breach of the term of the tenancy agreement or rent-related obligation, including the issue of any tenancy warning;
(ii) the response of the tenant to the steps taken by the housing authority referred to in subparagraph (i) ;
(iii) the effect, if any, that the breach of the tenancy agreement had or is having on the quality of life of those in the locality of the dwelling;
(iv) whether in the circumstances it is just and equitable to make the order notwithstanding that—
(I) the housing authority did not issue a tenancy warning in respect of the breach of the term of the tenancy agreement or the rent-related obligation,
(II) a tenancy warning issued by the housing authority in respect of a breach of the term of the tenancy agreement or the rent-related obligation of a similar nature to the breach to which the possession application relates is under review, or
(III) in accordance with subsection (3) (b), the housing authority did not issue a notice to the tenant under subsection (3) (a);
(v) the proportionality of making a possession order under this section, having regard to the grounds for the possession application.
(10) A possession order under this section shall specify the commencement date for the period during which the housing authority has the right to recover possession of the dwelling and the length of that period, which shall not be less than 2 months or more than 9 months, and shall have the effect of terminating the tenancy on the date that the housing authority recovers possession of the dwelling in pursuance of the order.
(11) 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.
(12) Where the grounds for a possession application are anti-social behaviour by a household member other than, where there is no joint tenant, the tenant, then the District Court—
(a) may decide that, as an alternative to determining the possession application, the possession application shall be deemed to be an application by the housing authority under section 3(2) of the Act of 1997 for an excluding order against that household member, notwithstanding that the provisions of paragraphs (a) and (b) of the said section 3(2) have not been complied with, and
(b) where the District Court so deems an application under subsection (3), shall require such notice (if any) to be given to the member of the household as the District Court considers appropriate in the circumstances.
(13) In proceedings under this section, a document purporting to be the relevant tenancy agreement produced by the housing authority shall be prima facie evidence of the agreement and it shall not be necessary to prove any signature on the document.
(14) 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.
(15) Where a judge of the District Court to whom subsection (14) relates is not immediately available, the jurisdiction of the District Court under that subsection may be exercised by any judge of the District Court.
(16) 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.