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Minister must now act to implement Landlord registration

21 January, 2010 - by Alex Maskey

South Belfast Sinn Féin MLA Alex Maskey has welcomed Tuesday's cross-party support which was given to his Assembly motion which called upon the Social Development Minister to introduce mandatory landlord registration. The South Belfast MLA has now said that the onus is on the Minister to move to implement mandatory landlord registration.

Alex Maskey MLA said,

"Tuesday's motion was a continuation of our ongoing attempts to resolve the problems faced by those living in the Holylands area in South Belfast.

"This motion highlights one element of this problem and is timely because the Department of Social Development, last August, closed its consultation on a Strategy for the Private Rental Sector. The responses to that consultation would indicate that there is widespread support the mandatory registration of landlords.

"I would welcome the fact that this motion received cross-party support in the Assembly. I was, however, extremely disappointed at the attitude of the Social Development Minister Margaret Ritchie during the debate.

"I have discussed the Holyland issue with her, and have put on record, in writing, to the Social Development Minister, OFMDFM, and Employment and Learning Minister Reg Empey, my belief that the problems associated with the Holyland area require a joined up, cross-departmental approach. This approach must be long-term and deal with all of the problems in the area rather than just palm the issue off as a mere 'anti-social' issue when it is widely acknowledge that the problem is a culmination of many factors including housing, overpopulation, inadequate supply of student accommodation, unregulated landlords, the over-proliferation of HMO's and apartments, among other factors including anti-social factors."

He concluded,

"Once again I would welcome the support given to this motion by MLA's in the Assembly. It is now time for the Social Development Minister to take her own advice and 'go beyond facile solutions' by moving to implement mandatory landlord registration." CRÍOCH

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