Tenants deposits are not for Water Charge bills - Ellis
Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Dessie Ellis TD has condemned new government plans to allow landlords to use tenants security deposits to pay for Irish Water bills. He made his comments following the announcement by Minister Alan Kelly that legislation was being prepared to allow for this to happen.
Deputy Ellis said:
"This is a major blow against the rights of tenants but also put landlords in a very difficult position.
“Security deposits paid by tenants to their landlord are supposed to be held securely in order to cover any damage caused to the property. It is not to be used for rent arrears or utility bills and landlords are often strict on this themselves. This is a disgraceful attempt to undermine those who seek to abolish water charges and it is using the rights of tenants to do it.
“For years deposit issues were the most common problem housing charities and the Private Residential Tenancies Board dealt with. Tenants are often not given their full deposit back, or have the entirety withheld illegally, due to issues between tenant and landlord which have nothing to do with the deposit and how it should operate. Recently the deposit has not been such an issue, but where it is withheld it can be a major problem for low and middle income people who are seeking new accommodation in an inflated market with very little choice. People have been made homeless due to the withholding of their deposit.
“Now the Minister who claims he wants to tackle homelessness is saying that landlords will be able to and possibly even made to take water charge bills out of deposits. Considering the government has long promised a bill which was supposed to further protect deposits from illegal misuse or withholding this is a particular slap in the face to tenants and a gives lie to the Ministers previous commitments on the issue."