Tuesday 24 April 2018

The Rent Report: Sharp increase in landlord and tenant rows as city rents rise

Paul Melia

Paul Melia

Disputes between landlords and tenants have risen 15pc year-on-year as a shortage of homes to rent becoming available fuels rising prices.

Almost 6,100 disputes were dealt with by the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB) last year, new figures reveal, as rents in our main cities of Dublin, Cork and Galway rise amid a major housing crisis.

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Most difficulties relate to tenants being given inadequate notice to quit, but disputes over withholding deposits and non-payment of rent are also common, said Kathryn Ward, PRTB assistant director with responsibility for enforcement.

Some 830 cases involved inadequate notice to quit, followed by 819 related to rent arrears, and 801 alleging that deposits were being retained without cause.

Just 185 cases involved rents being hiked beyond market norms.

Ms Ward said that 59pc of cases were taken by tenants, and 38pc by landlords. The remaining 3pc were taken by third parties, such as neighbours.

"Rent arrears have become more common in the last two years, where tenants are not paying rent in full, or at all, and just sitting there [in the property]," she said.

"Overholding is a huge priority. The vast majority of cases of rent arrears are people experiencing financial difficulty. But the act provides that people must continue to pay their rent even in cases of dispute."

There were also 215 cases where landlords sought to evict tenants on the basis of alleged anti-social behaviour, and 181 cases involving damage in excess of normal wear and tear, she added. The PRTB dealt with 6,071 disputes last year, up from 5,291 in 2013 - a 15pc increase.

The next most common disputes were 'breach of landlord obligations' (581), followed by 'overholding' (458), where tenants had built up significant rent arrears.

It takes up to 10 weeks for cases to be settled using mediation over the telephone, and six months if a formal adjudication or mediation process is entered. The more formal setting of a tribunal can take up to three months, but can only be invoked if either party appeals an adjudication.

The figures come as it emerged that rents have fallen across all counties over the last five years, except in the main cities of Dublin, Cork and Galway.

The 'Rent Report', details of which are available at ­independent.ie/therentreport, shows that average rents for all property types are down 1.64pc nationally - the average monthly rent now stands at €787, compared with €800 five years ago.

But that is completely reversed in the capital, where prices have soared by as much as 30pc in some areas. The most expensive 'average' rent is on Grand Canal Square in Dublin 2, at €1,945 per month.

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