Judging by today’s front-page report on the growing incidence of anti-social behaviour in property owned by eight local authorities in five Irish cities, there has seldom been a greater need for Government to accelerate the enactment of meaningful measures to tackle the intolerable carry-on by a minority of tenants.
According to figures issued to the Irish Examiner by the four local authorities in Dublin, as well as city councils in Cork, Limerick, Galway, and Waterford, only a fraction of complaints against the perpetrators have resulted in effective action by the relevant authorities. So bad has the situation become that, out of 4,622 complaints of anti-social behaviour in council properties last year, a paltry 70 actions were carried out, including the surrender of properties and evictions .
The appalling thing is that this figure represents the total number of actions taken by all eight local authorities during 2013. Despite claims by Department of Environment officials that authorities were given “substantial” powers last July, with more on the way, experts say they are not tough enough.
The situation is completely unacceptable. It goes without saying that action against rogue tenants must be seen to be effective. Evicting people is a measure of last resort. However, there is an onus on local authorities to protect people from the proverbial ‘neighbours from hell’. It is time for decisive action against those who make life unbearable for others.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved