Rent Deposit Protection Scheme needed after Santry €20k case

02 November 2019

Labour Affordable Housing spokesperson, Cllr Joanna Tuffy has said the case of forty students in Santry who have had €20,000 of rental deposits withheld from them, reported in the Irish Independent today, shows once again the urgent need for a rental deposit scheme which Fine Gael have refused to introduce now for over three years.

1 in 5 complaints to the Residential Tenancies Board relate to deposit retention.

Cllr Tuffy said:

“A tenancy rental deposit protection scheme was passed into law in 2015 by the Labour Party but since then Fine Gael have refused to introduce it despite repeated calls for a scheme.

The latest case of forty students in Hazelwood, Santry who had deposits worth €20,000 withheld from them shows that a protection scheme is urgently needed. The students have been waiting since September for their deposits to be returned, and are now being told they will likely be issued in the coming days but it shouldn’t take inquiries from the media to bring this to a head so someone can get their money back.

“The failure to provide such a basic protection is wrong and hugely disappointing for renters. As recently as 2018, the Government had told us they were planning to introduce new laws in 2019 for such a scheme, but once again we have seen no development on this. We will likely be waiting for many years to see such a protection scheme brought in, if at all.

“We know that over 1 in 5 of the complaints at the Residential Tenancies Board relate to landlords not returning their deposits. A protection scheme would free up this time for other more pressing cases related to rent and tenancy disputes.

“Recently we’ve also seen that some landlords are now demanding more than one months rent as a deposit, and the law should be changed to stop this. There have also been high profile cases of scams where people handed over deposits but there was no real property available to rent. If there was an independent body where deposits were lodged by the tenant it would remove a lot of the problems we see in the rental market.

“The UK’s deposit protection scheme in now over 10 years old, but Ireland has still failed to act to introduce our own.

“It really beggars belief that the Government and the Minister for Housing have not done this over many years when it would protect the most vulnerable tenants in our private rental market and stop the waste of 20% of RTB time on disputes over deposits.”

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