Any tenant who has completed 6 months living in the private rented sector will today have less reason to fear being evicted. Under the Residential Tenancies Act introduced last year, anyone who was living in a flat on or before September 1st 2004 will have increased security of tenure from today if they haven’t already been given notice to quit.
Up to now tenants without a lease could be given 28 days notice to leave without cause. Under the new Act, tenants can only be asked to leave if they have breached their obligations as tenants or in other very limited circumstances.
Threshold has vast experience of dealing with tenants who have been evicted for complaining to their landlord about the conditions in which they are living:
A mother with children was given notice to quit when she complained to her landlord after being without hot water for six weeks.
A 30-year old man in a low paid job who used rolled up magazines to keep his windows shut contacted his landlord over repairs needed. He was ‘encouraged’ to leave and was left in no doubt that his landlord wanted him out.
Aideen Hayden, Chair of Threshold, said:
“This is a landmark date. The system up to now gave landlords free rein where tenants were concerned. We have seen many instances where tenants have been given notice to quit because they asked for their legal entitlements. We have found this very frustrating because it is difficult for us to advise tenants to seek their rights when we know they will be evicted for being ‘nuisance’ tenants.
It continues to be an unfortunate aspect of the new legislation that anyone with less than 6 months occupancy does not have protection from eviction. In our view a six month probationary period is too long. During that time, a landlord can ask a tenant to leave for no cause whatsoever.
Threshold is calling on the Minister for Housing, Noel Ahern, to continuously review this legislation to ensure that all tenants have this protection as long as they fulfill their tenancy obligations.
We also take this opportunity to advise tenants that if they are in a difficult position either because of the actions of their landlord or other anti-social tenants that they should contact either Threshold or the Private Residential Tenancies Board as they now have legal recourse without fear.”
There is substantial evidence that many properties in the Private Rented Sector are below minimum standards. The last available statistics for 2003 show that of 4,703 rented properties inspected by local authorities, 1,753 units (close to 40%) were found to be below standard.
Threshold has Regional Advice Centres based in Dublin, Cork and Galway:
Eastern Regional Advice Centre 01 678 6096
Southern Regional Advice Centre 021 427 1250
Western Regional Advice Centre 091 563 080
The Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB) operates a dispute resolution service for tenants and landlords and may be contacted at 01-888 2960.