Threshold hit out at Government on rent deposits

Tenancy protection charity Threshold has criticised the government’s failure to deliver meaningful protection for renters when it comes to deposits.

Despite passing legislation to introduce a deposit protection scheme in 2015, the Government has yet to act on it, leaving tenants with no legal protections on the issue of deposits.

The charity was responding to a recent advert on property website which asked potential tenants for three months’ security deposit and a full month’s rent up front if they could not find a suitable guarantor to sign off on the lease. The property was advertised at a monthly rent of €1,425, meaning tenants who did not have a guarantor would be paying out €5,700 up front.

One month of this would be refunded after six months and the rest at the end of the lease, if all terms and conditions were met, according to the advert. It also specified that children were not allowed, which, said Threshold,, is contrary to the Equal Status Act.

The property, located on Bridge St in Cork city, has been let.

Edel Conlon, southern regional services manager with Threshold in Cork, said it shows how few protections there are for tenants in the current market.

“At present, there are no legal limits on the amount that a landlord can seek for a deposit and this is an issue that Threshold has highlighted to governments time and time again,” said Ms Conlon. “The common practice of one month’s rent as a deposit needs to be consolidated in law.

“There is no law in relation to this. This needs to be addressed to protect tenants.”

The landlord of the property, who gave his name as Jeremiah, said that he made “no apologies” for the strict requirements for potential tenants.

“We have been badly stung before,” he said.

People sign up for a year and they leave after a few months without paying bills and we are left with just one month’s deposit to clear it.

He said that a tenant he had dealt with previously had run up more than €1,300 in electricity bills. The tenant had also quit the property before the end of the lease.

“It is a standard policy that we have in place for five or six years,” he said.

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