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Concerns raised that new retrofitting scheme could see landlords evicting tenants

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The Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) has raised concerns that the Government’s new retrofitting scheme will see landlords evicting their tenants to carry out refurbishments.

RTB chairperson Tom Dunne told the Oireachtas Public Accounts Committee (PAC) this morning that landlords may use the retrofitting scheme to evict tenants and that this may become a “problem”.

“One of the reasons why you can ask a tenant to leave the accommodation is if the accommodation is in need of significant refurbishment,” he said.

“If you give incentives to people who own property to bring the standards of insulation etc up, clearly, a number of landlord may chose to undertake that work and to undertake that work, they may need to get the tenant out of the property

“So that may be one of the issues that may arise out of that,” he said.

Sinn Féin TD Imelda Munster asked if it may be likely that the retrofitting scheme may be used as an excuse to “circumvent” rent pressure zone laws.

“I would see it as something that would end up contributing to the rent crisis, where the Government [is] going to be subsidising and facilitating increased rent,” she said.

Mr Dunne said that there have not been previous retrofitting schemes which have been “so extensive” so the RTB did not have data which showed if it has previously had an effect on landlords evicting tenants to hike rents.

“It might become a problem now,” he told TDs and Senators.

“It is something that one needs to be thinking about.”

The RTB also raised concerns that their data shows that landlords are leaving the market and that this number drops every four months.

RTB Head of communications Caren Gallagher told the committee that at the end of 2018, there were 307,000 landlords, however, that this number dropped to 297,000 by the end of 2020.

She said that 72pc of landlords said that they sold properties and that there was a drop in landlords “by quarter”.

However, Brian Stanley said that figures from the RTB show that in 2005, there were 50,000 landlords and that this “tripled” to 2020, where they were 165,000 tenancies.

“There’s been no exodus,” he said.

However Ms Gallagher said that the RTB database would not reflect “individual landlord data”.


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