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Minister has head in sand regarding plight of tenants as PRTB services restricted

25 May, 2006


Sinn Féin spokesperson on the Environment, Heritage and Local Government Arthur Morgan T.D. has accused Minister of Environment, Heritage and Local Government Dick Roche of failing people in the private rented sector as backlogs results in a two month wait for registration of tenancies with the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB) and as opening hours of the PRTB are restricted to two and a half hours a day.

Speaking today Deputy Morgan said, “I asked the Minister of Environment, Heritage and Local Government Dick Roche if he was aware that the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB) public office and telephone line is now only open from 10.00am until 12.30pm Monday to Friday.  The PRTB claims that this “temporary limitation” of service is due to the volume of correspondence received.  I asked the Minister if in light of the difficulties this limitation of service is causing for tenants in the private rented sector he would make the additional resources and staff which are clearly needed available to the PRTB to meet with its obligations under the provisions of the Residential Tenancies Act 2004.

“I also brought to the Minister’s attention a two month backlog in the processing of registration applications by the Residential Tenancies Board.

“In his reply to me the Minister failed to acknowledge the extent of the problems in relation to the PRTB which is of little use to tenants while its services remain so severely restricted.  This limitation on service combined with the lengthy delays in processing registration is undermining the effectiveness of the Residential Tenancies Act 2004.  It is simply not good enough for the Minister to shrug his shoulders and to dismiss this escalating problem on the basis that these are operational matters for the PRTB.” ENDS

Dáil questions and answers follow:

Questions Nos. 290 and 291

To ask the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government if his attention has been drawn to the fact that there is a two month backlog in the processing of registration applications by the Residential Tenancies Board; the actions he intends to take to redress this situation.

To ask the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the Private Residential Tenancies Board public office and telephone line is now only open from 10.00 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. Monday to Friday; if his attention has further been drawn to the fact that the PRTB state that this temporary limitation of service is due to the volume of correspondence received; and if in view of the difficulties this limitation of service is causing for tenants in the private rented sector if he will make additional resources and staff available to the PRTB to meet with its obligations under the provisions of the Residential Tenancies Act 2004.

- Arthur Morgan.

For WRITTEN answer on Wednesday, 24th May, 2006.

Ref Nos:   19980/06 and 19981/06

REPLY

Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government (Mr. N. Ahern). 

I propose to take Questions Nos. 290 and 291 together.

These matters are responsibilities of the Private Residential Tenancies Board, which is an independent statutory body established under the Residential Tenancies Act 2004. It is a matter for the Board to determine how its statutory functions can most effectively be performed and to deploy resources having regard to demands and priorities.

Substantial resources are being provided to the PRTB to meet the high level of demands on its services.  There is currently a total of 42.5 staff working in the PRTB, which also receives ongoing support from my Department.  The PRTB has also engaged a panel of 175 mediators and adjudicators to assist with its dispute resolution functions.  An increased provision of €3.707 million is available to fund the PRTB’s administration and services in 2006, compared with an outturn of €1.737 million in 2005.

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