Thursday 27 June 2019

Rip-off landlords face exposure with new rent register

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy. Picture: Frank McGrath
Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy. Picture: Frank McGrath
Laura Larkin

Laura Larkin

Tenants could be able to see what their neighbours are paying for their homes under plans to expose rogue landlords charging rip-off rents.

The plans for a rent register from part of a package of measures were brought to Cabinet yesterday, beefing up the powers of the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB).

Unscrupulous landlords who breach the strict rules on rent caps in rent pressure zones around the country now face criminal sanction and hefty penalties of up to €30,000.

Work is also under way to legislate for the rental register, which would see rents paid on private properties published on a house by house basis.

The register would likely take the form of an online database.

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy said: "Enhanced rent transparency is our goal and an important one."

The Attorney General is looking at the proposal now and it is hoped an amendment to existing tenancy law can bring about the change, provided it is in line with data protection rules.

The annual registration of tenancies will also be required under the new laws - and landlords also face sanction for not registering a tenancy.

But a register on rent amounts and possible changes to the law in relation to student accommodation are still being teased out and will be added as new amendments as the bill works its way through the Oireachtas.

Mr Murphy said he was keen to publish the law soon "to let everyone know the Government is serious in its intent to stamp out any improper conduct by landlords, particularly with regard to flouting the rent increase restrictions".

Labour Party housing spokesperson Jan O'Sullivan described the bill as "half-baked" and hit out at the lack of certainty on the register.

"While there are positives in this Bill, it is a half-baked response to the crisis in the private rental sector where comprehensive protections are urgently needed," she said.

Irish Independent

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