The uncertainty and insecurity of living in the private rented sector.
‘Yeah I need to do the place up a bit so I’ll have to move ya on’ ‘That carpet was perfect, how the hell do you expect your deposit back!’ ‘Look it’s not my problem you have a kid, you’ll just have to move on that’s it. It’s there in the lease, one month notice’ Are you one of 150,000 households living in Private Rented Accommodation who has heard some of the above quotes or could hear them in the next month from your landlord? Tired of feeling insecure and uncertain as to your future in the area you live in? Are you reluctant to join clubs, doctors surgeries or put down roots in your community as you may have to move on at the whim of a one months notice to quit? The Residential Tenancies Bill being debated in the Dail today has a monumental significance for an ever-increasing proportion of the Irish population according to the National Housing Organisation, Threshold. Members of the Oireachtas will debate the Residential Tenancies Bill at approximately 5.30pm this afternoon. The uncertainty and insecurity of living in the private rented sector in a time of acute housing need is affecting all tenants particularly the vulnerable in society who are trapped at the bottom end of the sector. The majority of the 21,000 callers using Threshold’s advice and advocacy services last year live in sub-standard conditions and are subject to discrimination and arbitrary rent increases. The Residential Tenancies Bill can provide the framework for putting the landlord/tenant relationship on a more equal footing, providing a more secure and certain tenure and ultimately establish private rented accommodation as a viable longer term housing solution. If people get a fair deal for the rent they pay, both tenants and landlords can benefit from the bill. However, if you have heard some of the quotes above then you know how some landlords exploit and manipulate legislation in their own interest. For example under the proposed legislation, during the first six months of a tenancy, when the tenant has no rights, the landlord can give an extended notice to quit of say five months maintaining the tenancy for a year without falling under the requirements of the legislation. If this loophole remains then ruthless landlords will exploit it to their advantage. Aideen Hayden, Chair of Threshold says, “Over 150,000 households are now estimated to live in the Private Rented Sector and over the last few years the sector now accounts for 12% of all households in the country a 50% increase from the 8% the sector occupied in the mid 1990s. The importance of private rental will be pivotal in the future provision of Irish housing and the Residential tenancies bill must be implemented with a provision that the new Private Residential Tenancies Board will be able to adjudicate on avoidance actions undertaken by landlords. Rental accommodation should have the same consumer rights as any other sector and for too long people have been left vulnerable to a system where, with four weeks notice, individuals and families must uproot and find alternative accommodation. These anti-avoidance measures which need to be incorporated into the bill will be crucial in the future development of private rented sector for both tenant and landlord.”