My second question at March 16th Municipal District meeting ” Can the council provide an overview of how it exercises oversight of Approved Housing Bodies (AHB) in the municipal district to include but not limited to for example, details of its register of compliance statements for each AHB over the last 5 years, details of its monitoring of mortgage title deeds for each AHB (who is holding the title, and how it monitors the end dates of mortgage terms) and how it records and deals with tenant complaints?
Report: The role of Kildare County Council in relation to Approved Housing Bodies is to (a) ensure AHB compliance with funding schemes, (b) enter into new Payment and Availability agreements, Capital Advance and Leasing facility agreements and provide funding under the Capital Assistance Scheme (c) enforce the conditions of mortgage agreements (d) ensure AHB compliance with tenant nomination policies.
AHBRA (Approved Housing Body Regulatory Authority) regulates the AHB’s in supporting stronger governance and financial viability of the AHB sector. The AHBRA was established on 1st February 2022 and the Voluntary Regulation of the AHB’s was dissolved on 31st December 2021. AHBRA will have responsibility for establishing and maintaining a register of AHBs, preparing standards by which AHBs will be monitored and assessed, and encouraging and facilitating the better governance, administration and management, including corporate governance and financial management of AHBs. The Regulator will also have powers to carry out investigations and cancel the registration of AHBs.
Kildare County Council requires AHB and housing associations who have availed of funding under the Social Leasing Scheme, Capital Assistance Scheme and Capital Loan and Subsidy Scheme to complete an annual compliance return, this return includes information relating to (a) contact details (b) details of directors (c) insurance details (d) rent calculations (e) financial statements (f) maintenance allowance (g) occupancy statements and void rates (h) regulatory report. There is a register maintained of the compliance submission from each AHB.
The council holds the mortgage title deeds. Title transfers to Approved Housing Bodies once the mortgage deed agreements have been completed (lodged with Land Registry), with a charge in favour of the council registered against the title. AHBs receive an annual mortgage statement. On the expiry of the mortgage term, the council will begin the process of releasing deeds to the approved housing body in accordance with Circular 19/2014. Kildare County Council are in the process of completing a number of mortgages for existing CLSS Schemes.
The properties are managed by the AHB, tenancy management issues are the responsibility of the AHB. An inspection of the property can be requested, and this will be carried out by Kildare County Council’s Rental Inspection Team and it should be noted a number of inspections of AHB units are undertaken annually. AHB tenancies are governed by the Residential Tenancies Act and any disputes that may arise can
be referred to the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB).