Government must act now to protect private tenants – Ellis
Sinn Fein Housing spokesperson Dessie Ellis TD has called on the government to fast track reform which would help to protect private rental tenants. He made his comments following the release of a report from housing charity Threshold which found many tenants living in very poor conditions and others having deposits withheld unfairly.
Deputy Ellis said;
“The mistreatment of private rental tenants by unscrupulous landlords is nothing new but it has been only made worse by a shortage of accommodation in recent years. Rents have gone up as the market swelled and conditions have gotten worse with Local Authorities reporting this year that the vast majority of properties inspected in recent blitzes have not met basic standards.
“The government has made claims it will help protect rental tenants but nothing has happened yet.
“Firstly we need to see greater support for Local Authorities to inspect private rental accommodation and hold landlords to account. We also need to see a dramatic increase in social housing stock to drive down rents and bring competition to slum landlords taking advantage of desperate people.
“Minister Jan O’Sullivan has said she will introduce a deposit retention scheme to stop unlawful withholding of deposits which is all too common. This is needed and the legislation is there but nothing has been done yet. I submitted an amendment to the recent Residential Tenancy Bill which would have put a scheme in place but it was rejected by the government. We can’t drag our heals any longer.
“The government must also invest in the Residential Tenancies Board which currently receives no state funding but will soon have an expanded remit. In recent years they have had to cut staff and outsource. These cuts make their future viability less likely and lowered their capacity to deal with disputes.”