Three months' rent deposits being sought by landlords in Cork

Some landlords in Cork have begun seeking upfront payments of three months’ rent for homes - €3,300 based on average rents in the city, writes Kevin O'Neill.

Housing charity Threshold has claimed that the practice of hiking and withholding deposits will lead to increased homelessness as people simply cannot afford to pay.

Niall Horgan, the local Threshold manager, said, "There is no excuse for it, no justification. If the average rent in Cork is €1,100, you're talking €3,300 up front. People simply cannot afford that. It means that the market is not at a level playing field."

Officials at the Department of Housing have confirmed to the Evening Echo that a review of deposit safeguards will take place in the coming months after it emerged that landlords have begun seeking two months deposit and a month’s rent up front for some properties.

It is the latest in a long line of issues for renters in Ireland, with soaring rents and limited supply causing havoc in the rental market.

Yesterday, property website listed just 72 properties for rent in Cork city.

July is typically one of the quietest months of the year for renters as most students have yet to return from the summer break.

While local housing charities confirmed that there have not been too many incidents of landlords seeking two months deposit up front, they did note that a number of 'legal but unethical' practices are creeping into the rental market in the city.

This includes the requirement of a guarantor to under-sign a rental agreement and three months of a security deposit up front.

While there are currently no legal guidelines in place to prevent a landlord seeking a larger deposit, the normal practice is that one month's rent is paid.

The 2015 amendment to the Residential Tenancies Act provides for the establishment of a tenancy deposit scheme.

A spokesperson for the Department of Housing confirmed that a review of this provision is set to take place amid changes in the rental market in recent years.

"While the Government remains fully committed to the principle of ensuring effective protection of deposits, we are proposing to review the current legislative provisions to take account of the changed circumstances and determine what improvements should be made to ensure that the scheme, if and when introduced, can operate effectively," a department spokesperson said.

"The review of the scheme will take place later this year with any necessary legislative changes to be included in a new simplified and consolidated Residential Tenancies Bill, as committed to under the Strategy for the Retail Sector."

Housing charity Threshold has urged Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy to intervene as a matter of urgency.

This article first appeared in the Evening Echo

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