Tenants forced to accept sub-standard properties, says housing charity Threshold

Aideen Hayden, Threshold

Housing charity Threshold says increasing numbers of desperate tenants are being forced to accept sub-standard accommodation because of growing demand and prices in the rental market.

Today Threshold will publish a survey showing serious failings across local authorities in relation to the enforcement of minimum standards legislation.

According to Threshold, despite stronger laws on minimum standards, some local authorities are completely unaware that they are responsible for enforcement.

Threshold chairwoman, Senator Aideen Hayden, said poor standards in rented accommodation was one of the biggest issues for the 20,000-plus people who contacted Threshold last year.

“As the economic downturn has continued, this has become a major problem. Desperate tenants often feel they have no choice but to accept sub-standard accommodation,” she said.

“Many local authorities are failing to inspect rented properties and, in some cases, appear to be unaware of their obligation to do so. Even landlords, who wish to comply, are failing to maintain their properties due to their own financial problems.”

Other issues highlighted in the report:

- Illegal deposit retention by landlords — consistently one of the top reasons for tenants to contact Threshold;

- Rising demand for rented properties, the shortage of adequate rental accommodation in urban areas and the problems encountered by renters on low income;

- The impact of rent supplement cuts — over 40% of people helped by Threshold last year were in receipt of the supplement;

- Tenants whose landlords’ property is put into receivership.

Threshold chief executive Bob Jordan said the charity dealt with an increasing number of cases last year where tenants were forced to leave their home because the landlord refused to reduce the rent after their rent supplement was cut.

“The Government increased rent supplement limits in some areas in June but the serious shortage of quality rental accommodation in major urban areas has overridden these increases,” he said.

“Private renters in Ireland are more vulnerable now than at any other stage during the recession.”


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