Review of renting laws to focus on possible abuse

THE Government is to review aspects of renting laws after it emerged some landlords were registering their tenants as the equivalent of hotel guests.

Minister for Housing Michael Finneran has told Labour Cork South Central TD Ciaran Lynch that he will arrange to have the issue reviewed, particularly if there is evidence that existing laws are “the subject of abuse”.

Mr Lynch had claimed that the Irish Property Owners Association (IPOA), which represents landlords, has been encouraging its members to issue tenants with “licence agreements” rather than tenancies, effectively placing them in the same category as hotel guests.

The Labour deputy said this meant rent-payers having fewer protections than they would enjoy under the terms of a tenancy agreement.

On its website, under industry information and alternative licensing agreements, the IPOA refer to Part Business Lettings (Lilac Lease) and Licences Agreements Outside the Act (Blue Licences).

In responding to a priority question in the Dáil from Mr Lynch on the issue, Mr Finneran said his department was carrying out preparatory work on a review of the legislative framework within which the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB) currently operates.

“The PRTB has not brought any specific concerns to my attention in relation to the use of licensing arrangements as a mechanism for circumventing the provisions of the Residential Tenancies Acts,” said the minister.

Responding to the charge that landlords were taking advantage of loopholes in current legislation, the IPOA told the Irish Examiner last month the alternative licences were “a valid type of letting” and that any changes to the laws could be seen as “over-regulation”.

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