McNamara Seeks Legislation To Address Dysfunction In The Rental Sector

Clare TD Michael McNamara is urging government to introduce legislation that combats “unscrupulous” landlords who rent out homes unfit for purpose as well as unscrupulous tenants who do not pay rent and “game the system.”

Raising the matter with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in Dail Éireann, the Independent TD said, “There is a lot of discussion of dysfunction in the housing system. There is also a certain dysfunction in the rental sector. I do not agree with an eviction ban. Obviously, people should be helped, but if somebody is refusing to pay their rent or gaming the system a landlord should be able to remove them.”

He continued, “There is a huge problem in people intentionally gaming the system. They go to the Residential Tenancies Board, RTB. There is a big delay in that. They appeal that to the board and then wait for court enforcement. It goes on for well over a year. Meanwhile, someone is trying to pay a mortgage on a property and there is no summary procedure to remove somebody.

“On the other hand,” stated Deputy McNamara, “landlords should be renting out properties that are fit for purpose and there should be inspections. It goes back to 2013 when I stood here and called for a proper inspection procedure. Things have improved in recent years. Threshold is calling for a mandatory system whereby a landlord is required to obtain a certificate from a local authority every four years. Will the Taoiseach cure either of those problems? They are both important matters.”

In response, the Taoiseach said, “I definitely think the system needs to be more efficient. The RTB is very slow to deal with complaints, whether for a renter or a landlord. Of course, decisions can only be enforced by the courts and that creates a further delay. We definitely need to improve the efficiency and resourcing of the RTB and that is happening. Then of course there is the appointment of more judges. We have been appointing a lot of judges in the last few months, which should hopefully speed up the courts process.”

“I think I have read that proposal from Threshold, that it would be like a national car test, NCT, for rental property with an inspection every three or four years. It is worthy of consideration. As is often the case with a good idea, there could be unintended consequences, but it is definitely something I will speak to the Minister about,” concluded the Taoiseach.