16 May 2022

Minister asked to meet concerned tenants of Approved Housing Bodies in Kildare

Minister asked to meet concerned tenants of Approved Housing Bodies in Kildare

Kildare County Council headquarters at Aras Chill Dara

Kildare County Council is to write to the Approved Housing Body (ABH) Regulator and the Minister for Housing regarding governance concerns in relation to ABHs in South Kildare.

At the Kildare Newbridge Municipal District meeting on May 19, Cllr Noel Connolly and Cllr Chris Pender proposed that the council write to the Minister requesting he meet virtually, or at a social distance with residents of a housing association in Co Kildare to discuss their concerns in relation to corporate governance at their ABH.

The council confirmed the regulation of AHBs is dealt with by the ABH Regulatory Authority which was established on February 1.

It said “it may be more appropriate to correspond with the interim regulator on this matter”.

In a statement released after the meeting, Cllr Fiona McLoughlin Healy, who has been campaigning on this issue, welcomed the motion.

“The Minister has already been made aware of tenants’ concerns in relation to governance of housing associations in the district so I was grateful for the unanimous support of my colleagues for my amended proposal — that we write to the AHB Regulator as well as the Minister regarding the governance concerns we have been raising for over four years now and to request that they meet with tenants to discuss this,” she said.

She outlined some of her concerns about ABHs that have been brought to the attention of the Minister for Housing, TDs, the Charities Regulator and the Director of Corporate Enforcement.

She raised issues of alleged communication failures, multiple ABH board membership concerns, poor recording of voting/decisions and minutes, delays in filing annual reports, lack of internal controls, clarity on the breakdown of how tenants' rents are spent, failures to invite tenants to meetings, lack of knowledge of rules by some board members, and a failure to deliver on alleged promises to allow tenants to buy out their homes after a period of time.

AHBs (also called housing associations or voluntary housing associations) are independent, not-for-profit organisations. They provide affordable rented housing for people who cannot afford to pay private sector rents or buy their own homes; or for particular groups, such as older people or homeless people.

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