Concern expressed that new RTB powers will be difficult to enforce - Eoin Ó Broin TD
Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin TD has commented on reports on the content of the new Residential Tenancies amendment Bill. The Bill grants some much needed additional powers to the Residential Tenancies Board, extends notice to quit periods for tenants, provides for an annual registration of tenancies and the publication of a register of rents.
Deputy Ó Broin said:
“This Bill is long overdue. The granting of additional powers to the RTB to investigate and sanction landlords for breaches of rent pressure zone caps and rent reviews is welcome. Sinn Féin has been calling for this for some time.
“However I am very concerned that the sanctions will be criminal in nature rather than civil as requested by the RTB. Pursuing criminal sanction is expensive and leads to time consuming court action.
“Giving the RTB the option to issue civil sanctions would be quicker, cheaper for state and would be a more effective deterrent against breaches. There is no point giving the RTB new powers if they are difficult to enforce.
“While I welcome the extension of the notice to quit periods I suspect that this is little more than an attempt to slow down the flow of families into homelessness.
“If the Minister genuinely wants to keep people in their homes he should look at ways of amending legislation to bar the use of vacant notices to quit when a buy to let property is being sold.
“Sinn Féin will be seeking full legislative scrutiny of the Bill and will be seeking the views of the RTB, the Housing Agency and the Law Reform Commission as to whether civil or criminal sanctions are more appropriate.”