Threshold, the national housing organisation, today alerted landlords that they must register their properties with the new Private Residential Tenancies Board by 1st December. Failure to register is an offence which carries fines of up to €3,000 and a term of imprisonment. Threshold understands that less than 5,000 out of an estimated 150,000* rented properties have been registered with less than three weeks to go.
Aideen Hayden, Chairperson of Threshold, said:
“Time is running out. Unless there is a deluge of registrations in the next few weeks, thousands of landlords are heading for trouble over Christmas.
Landlords who fail to register will have nowhere to hide. The Private Residential Tenancies Board has access to rent supplement data and will be able to track down unregistered landlords.
Landlords will also be short changing themselves. They will not have access to the new dispute resolution service for landlords and tenants. This will save them a lot more than the registration fee if they have difficulties with their tenants.”
The registration fee is €70 per unit and €300 for multiple units in the same building. The fee is tax deductible and may cover the landlord for up to four years, depending on how long tenants remain. So some landlords will pay as little as €10 per year. Landlords who have already registered with a local authority in 2004 do not have to pay but do have to supply details of their tenancies to the PRTB.
The obligation to register is nothing new. Landlords have been legally obliged to register with local authorities since 1996. But this system was a dismal failure, with only 20% of landlords registering.
“Threshold will pursue this issue rigorously. We do not want to see tenants deprived of their rights because landlords fail to register. Delays in getting landlords registered means it will take longer for tenants to have disputes settled. The PRTB will be sidetracked into getting landlords to register rather than getting on with the real business of solving problems.
We are calling on the PRTB to conduct a national publicity campaign to get landlords registered. They should strictly enforce penalties after 1st December to ensure that the same sorry scenario does not arise with this legislation as happened with the last registration scheme.”
*According to the 2002 census, there was 141,459 households living in private rented accommodation and this figure is now likely to be much higher.