According to a report, Eoghan Murphy has defended the €500 placement fees for letting agents who house homeless families, despite landlords labelling the move “concerning and disturbing”.
The Housing Minister said he supported any move to house homeless families, but wasn’t aware of all “individual lease arrangements” such as the placement fees.
However, he earlier this year communicated to the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive (DHRE) to “do what they could to prevent families from going into emergency accommodation, or to get families out of emergency accommodation as quickly as possible”. Mr Murphy added: “Obviously we want to avoid families having to be in emergency accommodation at all. “So the DRHE and other local authorities work with a number of landlords across the country to get people into Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) and into homes and it’s important that they do that.”
It was revealed by RTÉ that the €500 placement fees are being offered to private letting agents in Dublin for renting properties to HAP tenants.
The Irish Property Owners Association (IPOA) called on Government to stop the initiative “immediately” amid concerns the State was interfering with the market and the “trust” between landlords and agents.
Margaret McCormack, information officer for the IPOA, said: “The move to pay agents a placement fee is concerning and disturbing.
“This scheme has the potential to influence the selection of a tenant for a property, it could undermine the relationship of trust between a landlord and an agent.
“It’s something we want to be immediately stopped. This is not good for the market.”
A number of landlords were contacted by the Irish Independent and they stated they did not wish to speak or be identified, but one spoke anonymously.
The landlord with two properties in Dublin and one in Cork, said: “This could lead to an agent taking advantage of circumstances where freedom should be granted to every single potential tenant to put their best foot forward and a property to be let on a person’s merits. “It should not be left to an agent to make that decision on their own and to be influenced in making that decision by a benefit of €500 plus VAT.”