Threshold, the national housing charity, has welcomed reports the Government is to review laws around how receiverships impact on tenants.
Commenting today (16.08.13), Bob Jordan, Chief Executive of Threshold, said: “Reports the Minister for Housing, Jan O’Sullivan, is committed to reviewing the laws governing receivership are to be welcomed. The current situation – whereby tenants are caught in the crossfire between landlords and banks when properties go into receivership – cannot be allowed to continue.”
“At present, when a property goes into receivership, tenants are legally obliged to pay their rent to the receiver. However, the receiver often fails to take on the responsibilities of the landlord. Lack of regulation and clear legislation in this area has led to a situation where a receiver can be getting rent, but refusing to carry out repairs to a property or to maintain minimum standards.
“Threshold has been calling for strong regulation in this area for some time. As a priority, the legislation governing the private rented sector must be revised to explicitly state that receivers become the ‘landlord in law’ once they take over a property and, as such, have responsibility for all landlord duties.
“There is a perfect opportunity to make the necessary legislative changes at present, as a Bill to amend the 2004 Residential Tenancies Act is currently before the Dáil. This presents the Government with a real chance to address the murky legal situation that has arisen in recent years, and to guarantee tenants’ rights will be protected when properties fall into receivership.”
According to Threshold, increasing numbers of tenants are affected by this issue, due to the scale of mortgage arrears in the buy-to-let sector and the growth in the numbers of people choosing to live in private rented accommodation.
“One in five families today live in private rented housing, and that number is greater in urban centres like Dublin and Galway,” said Senator Aideen Hayden, Chairperson of Threshold. “The current mortgage crisis is putting many of these homes at risk. We need clear guidance for tenants when a bank seeks to repossess a buy-to-let property. Such guidance is currently not in place, and nothing short of legislative change will do.
“More than 29,000 buy-to-let mortgages are in arrears of over three months. As a result of the recent passing of the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act, the number of buy-to-let properties facing repossession will rise significantly. It is critical that tenants in these properties know where they stand, particularly tenants with school-going children, who fear the prospect of having to uproot their families. Their legitimate interest in their family home must be protected.
“Threshold has seen examples where receivers have attempted to evict tenants with no notice. A rented home is someone’s family home, and the rights of these families must not be trampled on.”