Dail Dramas Deflecting Debate on Residential Tenancies Bill Important Amendments Required on Bill

Press Releases

Threshold calls on the Government to make important amendments to the Residential Tenancies Bill 2003

– Less than one in five landlords comply with existing registration requirements – – 150,000 households living in Private Rented Sector – -12% of all Irish households living in private rented accommodation up from 8% during mid 1990s – – 56,900 recipients of rent supplement in April 2003 – – Scaremongering and sensationalist argument by minority of landlords attempting to undermine Bill – – Anti-avoidance provision should be included to ensure that tenants rights are protected – The national housing organisation, Threshold, called on the Government to make important amendments to the Residential Tenancies Bill 2003 which will be debated before the Dail tonight. During a week of intense Dail debate and drama the most important piece of legislation on the private rented sector for decades affecting over 150,000 households has gone completely unnoticed. Threshold is concerned that the current wording weakens the power and efficacy of the Bill and urges the government to incorporate key amendments to create balanced and effective regulation of the private rented sector. Threshold’s information and advice work highlights that people in private rented accommodation have few if any options should a landlord choose to raise the rent, give notice to vacate or fail to make basic repairs. During 2002 one in four callers to Threshold’s advice service had a gross annual income of less than €15,000 forcing them into the lowest quality accommodation where protection against seriously substandard housing is inadequate. 22% of the households calling Threshold have children, making evictions and notices to quit significant and serious catastrophes in these peoples’ lives. While many landlords do behave reasonably, it is essential that all be made to do so if tenants, particularly the vulnerable 56,900 recipients of SWA allowance, are to get a fair deal. The Residential Tenancies Bill provides no protection against retaliatory notice to quit in the first 6 months of a tenancy. It should be amended to provide a strengthening of the provisions prohibiting landlords retaliating against tenants who try to assert their rights. The Bill should also incorporate a basic obligation on landlords that the dwelling meets the minimum legal standards such as a supply of hot and cold water. A general anti-avoidance provision should be included to ensure that the acquired rights of tenants are protected. An example of this would be a provision that any scheme or arrangement found to be in place purposefully with the intention of defeating a tenant’s rights is void, and penalties should be imposed accordingly. Aideen Hayden Chair of Threshold said, “The majority of landlords in this country use their properties as a form of investment and not as primary income source or revenue generator. A small minority of full-time landlords are engaging in scaremongering and sensationalist arguments around this Bill in an attempt to undermine some fundamental rights enshrined in it. It’s about time that people trying to make homes out of rented accommodation were not regarded as ‘income sources’ who can be evicted with four weeks notice at the whim of an unscrupulous landlord. Tenants must be respected as citizens of the state with a basic right to professional and protective procedures.”


Join our email list

Keep current with issues affecting renters & receive updates on the difference we’re making with your support.