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Rent cap sanctions must be civil not criminal - Eoin Ó Broin TD

6 December, 2018 - by Eoin Ó Broin TD

Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin TD has called on the Minister for Housing to ensure that the sanctions introduced for breaches of rent pressure zone caps and rent review rules will be civil and not criminal in nature.

Deputy Ó Broin said:

“The Minister is bringing legislation to cabinet next week that will, amongst other things, introduce sanctions for landlords who breach the rent pressure zone caps and rent review rules for areas not covered by the rpz’s.

“These sanctions should be civil rather than criminal. The Residential Tenancies Board made this clear in the Housing Committee last June when we went through the General Scheme of the Minister’s upcoming piece of legislation.

“Having access only to criminal sanctions will mean the RTB will be forced to go to court when breaches are reported. This will slow down the process to the extent that it will make it unenforceable.

“The power to use a civil sanction is common in other areas of the RTBs work and indeed with other agencies for example the Central Bank and the Energy Regulator.

“It is my understanding that the reluctance of the Attorney General to go down this route is due to a distaste for the use of administrative adjudication and the devolving of powers to non-judicial bodies like the RTB.

“There is little point in giving the RTB new powers if the enforcement mechanisms actively undermine their effectiveness.

“Sinn Féin will insist on a full and rigorous pre-legislative scrutiny process of the legislation when it is published at the Housing Committee.

“Much needed powers are finally being devolved to the RTB. We must make sure we give it the power it actually needs to do its job to police breaches and enforce sanctions against those who are not sticking to the rent pressure zone caps and rent review rules.”

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