Rent sector watchdog ‘needs more resources’

A report issued that The State body charged with regulating the rental market has signalled it does not yet have the capacity to take on new and improved powers to investigate rogue landlords.

The Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) said it is “working with the Department of Housing to ensure adequate resources are put in place to be able to carry out these new functions while continuing to maintain a consistent level of service for our existing services”.

A bill giving the RTB new powers is scheduled to be published in the new Oireachtas term.

The RTB told the Irish Independent that its evolving powers will allow it to “proactively enforce landlord and tenant law and assume a more active and direct regulatory role in the sector”.

It will be able to investigate suspected breaches of regulation on its own initiative. But currently it must wait for a complaint to be made.

The body is in the spotlight after a State-backed landlord, the DAD property fund, used an exemption in legislation to introduce a 6pc rent increase in a pressure zone where rents are largely capped at 4pc.

According to legislation, property new to the rental market, which has not been let out in the two years before its location was made a rent pressure zone, can be exempt from the cap.

The landlord rolled back on an attempt to introduce a rent review for tenants ahead of the legislative deadline, apologising for the error.

The RTB’s recently published annual report for 2017 said it had 53 staff last year.

Irish Independent 31 July 2018

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