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Tenants rights must be protected and supported equally – Ellis

29 May, 2013 - by Dessie Ellis TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson Dessie Ellis TD has called on the government to extend the role of the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB) to include Local Authority and Voluntary Housing tenants.

He made his comments as the Oireachtas Committee responsible prepares to debate amendments to the proposed Residential Tenancies Bill this Thursday.

Deputy Ellis continued;

"Tenants must be treated with equality and receive fair treatment and protection regardless of the fact their landlord is a local authority, a housing body or a private landlord. While these tenants may have some different needs and experiences they deserve to have a body which will work with them and their landlords to resolve disputes.

This Bill will be a missed opportunity to provide better protection for tenants’ rights and better mechanisms to resolve disputes if not amended to extend the remit of the PRTB.

The PRTB does an excellent job supporting genuinely aggrieved tenants, landlords and communities. The government must recognise this contribution by developing a proper funding mechanism for this service which has been forced to make cuts year on year since the economic collapse.

I have submitted amendments to the bill to do just that as well as introduce a scheme which would protect security deposits from being unfairly held by landlords.

These were a policy of Labour in opposition and I ask the Minister to support these amendments and bring real reform for tenants’ rights.

Recently the terrible conditions many rental tenants are living in around inner city Dublin has been exposed by the RIAI and Dublin City Council reports. We cannot allow standards to slip, protections to be undermined and slums to develop".

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