Labour proposes state assessment for return of rental deposits

RENT deposits should be placed in a central state fund with an independent assessment of whether they would be paid back to tenants, under a proposal by the Labour Party.

Housing and local government spokesman Ciarán Lynch said the plan would put an end to the thousands of disputes over deposits between landlords and tenants, and ensure that unreturned deposits are put to good use.

It would also save the State around e60 million by doing away with the situation where landlords cheat the State by failing to return deposits covered under the Rent Supplement.

The proposals are contained in the Labour Party’s Residential Tenancies Bill which was moved in the Dáil last week, and requires payment of deposits into the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB).

“This bill will address the current situation where there is absolutely no legislation to regulate how deposits are held on account and managed or maintained,” said Mr Lynch. “I would estimate that the deposit for each agreement would be in the region of e1,000 for each of the approximate 250,000 tenancies, creating a fund that will be worth e0.25 billion held in a national treasury account.”

The Housing Charity, Threshold, welcomed the proposal and has called on other parties to support the bill.

Chairwoman Aideen Hayden said: “For people in the private rented sector, their deposit is often treated as their only savings account and, unless they have it returned by their landlord at the end of their tenancy, they are compromised when it comes to securing a new place to live.

“Granted, not all deposits should be returned, because a tenant may have damaged the property or failed to pay rent. In these cases, under the proposed piece of legislation, they would not have their deposits returned and the PRTB would furnish the money to the landlord.”


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