Update - 10.07am: Housing charity Threshold has called on the housing minister to start the deposit protection scheme.
The deposit protection scheme is already provided for in the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 2015.
Threshold CEO Dr Aideen Hayden warned that while common practice dictates that a deposit should be the equivalent of one month’s rent, there is currently no legislation in place to enforce it.
She said: “This needs to be addressed to protect tenants. The previous coalition Government in 2011 committed to the introduction of a deposit protection scheme and passed enabling legislation in 2015. However, the relevant section has yet to be activated.
"Threshold is deeply committed to the introduction of a deposit protection scheme, in particular as the loss of a deposit can be a cause of homelessness where a tenant does not have the resources to provide a deposit for a new lease.”
The Irish Rental Price Report from Daft.ie for the first quarter of this year found that the average rent nationwide now stands at €1131 – an all-time high.
At that price, a tenant would require €3393 in hand to secure accommodation where a landlord insisted on a two month deposit.
With the average rent in South Dublin for the same period at €1,787 – a tenant would require €5,361.
Threshold has called on Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy to introduce the scheme as a matter of priority and to ensure that the law stipulates that one month’s deposit is sufficient.
Earlier: Landlords are defending asking for two months rent as a deposit.
The Irish Property Owners' Association says there is no legal impediment on how much money they can request before granting tenancy.
It has emerged the country's largest landlord is asking for two months rent in deposit on Dublin properties earning €1,500 a month in rent.
Margaret McCormack from the IPOA says the tradition of a one-month deposit often does not cover costs when homes are damaged.
She said: "Property is a very expensive item and it has happened that they have substantially refurbished a property after it has been destroyed by a tenant.
"One month's rent would do very little to repair that damage."