Monday 23 October 2017

'What protection is there for renters?' - Mum waiting seven years to get €900 deposit back from landlord

Marta with her daughter Julia (6)
Marta with her daughter Julia (6)
Catherine Devine

Catherine Devine

A mother has criticised the support available for renters as she has been waiting seven years to get her deposit back from an ex-landlord.

Marta Blaszkow, originally from Poland, was renting a home with her partner Stefan from a landlord in Navan, Co Meath from 2008 to 2010.

Marta and her partner decided to move to a bigger home as they planned to start a family.

"I've been waiting seven years to get my €900 deposit back from my ex-landlord. I rang him many times before I started legal action but I got no response."

After trying to contact her landlord numerous times, Marta enlisted the help of the Residents Tenancy Board (RTB) in 2011 who provided her with help but Marta claims that her ex-landlord never paid back the deposit despite the RTB's efforts.

In 2015, Marta attended a hearing at the Navan District Court where a judge ordered an Execution Order, which stated her ex-landlord had to pay back her deposit of €900 plus €450, due to the delay in payment.

However, her ex-landlord did not attend the hearing and no payment was ever made.

"Now it's not just about the money, it's about justice.

"We left the apartment in 2010 and we payed all our bills before we asked for our deposit back. We gave one month's notice and there were no arguments or disputes . We left the house the way that it was found."

Marta said that her ex-landlord sent her a text about getting the deposit back but a year passed without hearing anything.

"The RTB did everything they could and I hired a solicitor but he still hasn't paid me my deposit.

"This man is not living up to his responsibility as a landlord and he's getting away with it. The RTB and the court system have so far not been able to make the man pay me back my deposit. What protection is there for renters? There is no help. It's crazy."

Independent.ie contacted the landlord in question who denied the situation and offered no comment.

In a statement, the RTB said that they cannot comment on individual cases but confirmed that Marta received a Court Order following enforcement by the RTB.

A spokesperson told Independent.ie that "in some cases, going to Court and obtaining an Order does not of itself guarantee that payment will be made".

"The RTB provides a copy of the Court Order along with the registered judgment to parties and they can then make a decision if they wish to seek debt recovery which  may or may not be successful depending on a parties means.  Compliance by agreement is the most successful method however, not all parties are willing to enter a settlement agreement."

The RTB added they take very seriously the issue of non-compliance with a Determination Order and has, since its establishment in 2004, allocated a significant budget each year for the purpose of enforcement.

"The RTB has prioritised certain categories of disputes that it considers has a damaging effect  on the rental sector which now provides homes for one in five households. These dispute types are  rent arrears, over holding, deposit retention and illegal eviction. In addition, as a regulator for the rental sector we will automatically target any tenants or landlords who have repeated breaches of tenant and landlord law.

"It is important to note that just like any other court outcome, the outcome in itself cannot guarantee in particular payment and/or damages. The Civil Debt (Procedures) Act 2015 provides for the attachment of earnings or deductions from social welfare payments, as appropriate, for the purpose of the enforcement of debts. This may assist with recovery of monies in the future where a person is in receipt of social welfare. This legislation will apply to debts that are more than €500 and less than €4,000 in value, and for which a court judgment has been obtained. It is due to come into effect shortly."

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