NEWS – “without comment”
Posted by: Ian (D. Withers)
Wexford County Council urged to hire private investigators to expose absentee local authority tenants
November 16 2022
Source: Wexford-People / Wexford Newsletter
THE Housing Department at Wexford County Council have been urged to employ private investigators in a bid to ascertain if people are actually living in local authority houses that they’ve been assigned.
For the third month in a row, a situation was raised whereby it was suggested that council houses were lying idle and unlived in as the people who they had been assigned to no longer actually lived there, despite keeping up the tenancy.
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Fianna Fáil councillor Joe Sullivan said that he was aware of a situation in Gorey whereby somebody from the local authority housing list had been granted a house by an Approved Housing Body (AHB) but was not actually living in the property, which was lying idle in the middle of a housing crisis.
“I’ve been observing this house daily July or August myself,” he said. “I’m convinced that there’s nobody living there full time. To think that we’re giving away holiday homes to people is a bit much for me!
“I’ve been in touch with Tuath (Housing – the AHB) but they’ve said they can’t tell me anything because of GDPR. If people are not going to live in these houses, I’d expect the council and the housing body to get to work and get somebody else in there.”
Growing frustrated of hearing similar stories in the council chamber, Cathaoirleach of Wexford County Council George Lawlor called for action to be taken.
“I think, if necessary, we should be hiring a private detective on this to establish if these people are in fact living at these addresses.
I’ve had several reports of one person with a council house in the Wexford district who supposedly hasn’t lived there for over three years. They only come in and out to switch on the lights. It’s just not on.”
Director of Housing Carolyne Godkin said that people who are allocated social housing are obliged to live in the property, but they were also entitled to be away from said property for certain periods of time.
“In the situation that Cllr Sullivan is referring too, we would simply stop paying the AHB for the property. That’s how we would handle it. I would stress that this is a very small number of houses that we’re dealing with in this type of situation.”
A problem that many Housing Authorities face across Ireland and the U.K.
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