Yesterday, Francis sought an update on the establishment of the Commission on Housing and the Referendum on the Right to Housing, both of which are commitments in the Programme for Government (p.58, p.120 of Programme for Government)
Minister, according to your response to a PQ I submitted in June, you intended to formally establish the Commission on Housing by September, and once Terms of Reference were finalised, you intend to hold a process to invite expressions of interest for the membership of the Commission. Given the urgency and need for rental protections and regulation of the rental sector, I would therefore be grateful if you could give us an update on establishment of the Commission and Terms of Reference
We have received assurance from yourself and the Department that one of the first priorities of the Commission on Housing will be to progress the referendum on the Right to Housing. Given the delay in establishing the Commission, would you be able to give us an indication of when we’ll be at the ballot box to vote on the Housing referendum?
Furthermore, the Commission - as I understand - will be examining issues such as tenure, rental protections, and accommodation standards. Considering most of these issues are hashed out and discussed in detail in the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Housing with relevant stakeholders and experts, will the Commission have regular engagements with the Committee and will that be included in the Terms of Reference?
Will the commission consider how rental units are regulated, as they are in other jurisdictions, to ensure that if a landlord wants to sell a unit, the tenants can remain in situ? I know that with the build-to-rent legislation - which I do not necessarily agree with - the units remain rental units, so if a landlord sells the unit, the tenants can stay. Will the commission consider the issue of the regulation of rental units going forward?