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Welcome for private rental sector consultation but mandatory registration excluded

12 June, 2009 - by Fra McCann

Sinn Fein MLA for West Belfast and member of the Social Development Committee, Fra McCann, has welcomed the announcement by the Minister for Social Developments on the launch of a consultation process on the private rented sector however he raised concerns that the mandatory registration of landlords has been excluded.

Speaking earlier Mr McCann said:

“I welcome today’s announcement on this consultation process. It is long overdue. However I am concerned that the question of mandatory registration of the sector is not included in the consultation document.

“I cannot understand the Minister’s reluctance on this issue; this sector is in receipt of up wards of £88 million from Housing Benefit with no controls at all. If this was a public sector organisation then there would be a public outcry.

“Sinn Fein has raised this issue on numerous occasions with the Minister and several motions regarding the issue have received support in the Assembly but so far the Minister has failed to act.

“Mandatory registration exists in the South of Ireland and also in Scotland. Alongside this it will be introduced soon in England and Wales. It holds no threat for the vast majority of landlords who comply with the rules but it will catch those who have something to hide while safeguarding tenants.

“This is a serious oversight on behalf of the department, I would ask people to take part in the consultation and highlight the mandatory registration as the way forward with strict penalties for non compliance and the establishment of a panel of people to oversee disputes between landlords and their tenants.”

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