Tenant rights must be strengthened and 'no fault' evictions banned – Threshold

Tenant rights must be strengthened and 'no fault' evictions banned – Threshold

Housing charity, Threshold, is calling for tenant rights to strengthened and 'no fault' evictions banned, following new research showing a “significant power imbalance” between landlords and tenants.

New research by Dr Michael Byrne from UCD and Dr Rachel McArdle from Maynooth University found that landlords have “considerable” power to terminate tenancies and that many tenants experience “retaliatory” behaviour if they challenge rent increases or other issues.

Based on the experiences of 24 tenants in Dublin, Cork and Galway, the ‘Security and Agency in the Irish private rental sector’ report identified a pattern of conflict between tenants and landlords that often shifts from a conflict trigger to a reaction from the landlord to crisis management.

Tenants, however, are often reluctant to speak up or bring a dispute to the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) out of fear and uncertainty over how the landlord might respond and given the current rental market and housing crisis.

One-third of tenants surveyed said they experienced “retaliatory” or penalising actions from the landlord when issues were raised.

Half of all respondents had their tenancy terminated at some point and one-third had taken successful cases to the RTB.

During a homelessness and housing crisis and at a time when one in five homes are rented, Threshold said the Residential Tenancies Act must be reformed to provide greater protections to tenants.

Chairwoman of Threshold, Dr Aideen Hayden, said the Residential Tenancies Act is “too complex” and “inaccessible” to both tenants and landlords.

“The Act should be restructured to reflect the power imbalance in the landlord-tenant relationship, which emerges clearly from the research.

A major step towards achieving this would be to ban ‘no-fault’ evictions, which would increase security of tenure,” Dr Hayden said, adding that the “penalisation” of tenants should be investigated further to establish how widespread the practice is and how it is dealt with by the RTB's resolution process.

Report author, Dr Michael Byrne, said recent policy changes, such as rent pressure zones, are "limited" in their impact and that it falls to tenants to identify breaches of legislation: "The legislative and market context of the private rental sector make tenants vulnerable, and that undermines the effectiveness of policy."

* Threshold’s helpline is 1800 454 454 or threshold.ie/advice/help


More on this topic

'We have huge potential': Housing expert on rapid conversion of commercial units in Ireland'We have huge potential': Housing expert on rapid conversion of commercial units in Ireland

€108m loans approved by Home Building Finance Ireland€108m loans approved by Home Building Finance Ireland

Darragh O'Brien: Government's affordable homes to cost between €160,000-250,000Darragh O'Brien: Government's affordable homes to cost between €160,000-250,000

'We need to be consistent': Mortgage lending during pandemic needs clarification, consumer expert says'We need to be consistent': Mortgage lending during pandemic needs clarification, consumer expert says

More in this Section

Cork TD tells colleagues to stop feeling sorry for themselves over Cabinet jobsCork TD tells colleagues to stop feeling sorry for themselves over Cabinet jobs

Charity urges caution after hearing about potential house partiesCharity urges caution after hearing about potential house parties

Irish Water to review need for hosepipe ban following heavy rainfallIrish Water to review need for hosepipe ban following heavy rainfall

'I was freaked out' says charity walker injured in buzzard attack'I was freaked out' says charity walker injured in buzzard attack


Lifestyle

Des O'Sullivan previews the diverse items that will spark interest among collectorsAntiques: From a sword to crystal chandeliers and a dictionary

Kya deLongchamps strikes up the band for some lesser copied American mid-centuryIt's July 4 so let's strike up the band for American designs

Blessed are the cheesemakers! Let’s all do our bit to support small Irish producers, many of whom are still experiencing real hardship.Darina Allen: Why we need to support the small Irish producers in our cheese industry

Courgettes are part of the squash and marrow family, they are available all year round but are particularly good in the summer. When buying courgette, look for smaller, younger ones as these will have the best flavour. Currabinny Cooks: From simple salad to quick loafs, here's how you should cook courgettes

More From The Irish Examiner