Renters need to be protected

4th October 2013 - Deirdre Clune MEP

I would like to welcome the ‘Residential Tenancies(Amendment)Bill 2012’ which was introduced in the Seanad this week. This Bill builds on the success of the 2004 act which afforded greater regulatory protection to tenants and landlords as the demand for rental accommodation increases

Due to the economic constraints that many people are living under, more and more people are choosing to rent homes instead of entering into the buyers market.

The 2011 Census showed that the number of private rented homes almost doubled

Since 2006 from 10% to 18.5%  and home ownership declined from 75% to 70%

The rental market now accounts for 29 %of the housing market

This means there is a growing demand for apartments and houses for rent, particularly in busy cities likeDublin,CorkandGalway.

According to Daft.ie’s latest survey, rents inDublinare now 7.5% higher than a year previously and the rent inCorkhas risen by 1.8%.

Due to the increase in the importance of the rental market, it is essential that the people who are in the renting market are well represented and protected from any unfair potential disputes or difficulties which may arise.

Disputes referred to the PTRB have increased by almost 40% since 2008 at the same time staff numbers have reduced by 53 %.

This legislation will further improve our system of tenant-landlord regulation by introducing measures that promote mediation in dispute resolution which will reduce the number of referrals to the board and ensure a speedier resolution for all parties.

It is my view that the right mediation can give people in this situation a way to resolve issues quickly and efficiently.

The Programme for Government committed to the creation of a Deposit Protection Scheme to address the issue of illegal retention of tenants’ deposits.

The Minister stated that she will be introducing such a measure as an amendment to this Bill.

The area of the retention of deposits by landlords when unjustified is a massive concern for tenants who are under financial pressure when moving homes.

It is my hope that this scheme will stabilise the rental market and will aid both tenants and landlords who are caught up in complex and stressful disputes.

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