The National Housing organisation Threshold, broadly welcomed the measures proposed in the publication of the Residential Tenancies Bill 2003 as announced by Housing Minister Noel Ahern and Dept of Environment and Local Government Minister Martin Cullen. The publication of the Residential Tenancies Bill 2003 represents a historic day for landlords and tenants with the long overdue enshrining of basic principles on a statutory basis. Threshold believes that the bill will have a significant impact in redressing the inequitable balance between landlords and tenants in the private rented sector.
While Threshold is broadly welcoming the Bill there are key areas of concern that will need to be addressed and incorporated into the final drafting of the legislation. Threshold is concerned that security of tenure could be compromised by loopholes that undermine entitlements under the legislation, such as the unclear definition of anti-social behaviour and the ability to evict in order to refurbish. Threshold is also highlighting the absence of a clear reference to enforcing minimum dwelling standards and of strong measures to ensure full registration of landlords. The Bill stipulates that the Board will only consider disputes involving registered tenancies. This is a critical issue given that currently less than one in five landlords comply with existing registration requirements. A further issue is that the cyclical six-month probationary period will leave tenants vulnerable to eviction without reason at the start of every four-year tenancy. Aideen Hayden, Chair of Threshold said; “Threshold have been campaigning and fighting for tenants rights for 25 years and the Residential Tenancies Bill represents an important step in improving the inequitable relationship that has existed for too long between landlords and tenants. We believe that a fair and well-regulated sector will contribute to and stimulate the growth of the sector and guarantee its future development into the 21st century”.