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Readers blog: Housing crisis not solved by demonising those with one or two properties

Many moderate and reasonable people were no doubt surprised to read that an estate agent was fined on grounds of discrimination for having advised a single mum with a toddler, who was on a HAP housing scheme, that the owner of the property ‘would prefer to rent to a couple’. 

Undoubtedly, this case can be looked at from different perspectives. 

One wonders why the owner of the property issued such an instruction.

It may have been prompted by the behaviour of previous Hap tenants who thrashed and destroyed a house or apartment.

In such instances the landlord/landlady finds that he or she have no redress whatsoever apart from a prolonged legal course of action under the jurisdiction of the Private Residential Tenancy Board.

On the one hand, it could be argued that the estate agent erred insofar as he or she should have met the woman and used their intuitive skills and business experience to assess her suitability and records.

It is very often the case that recipients of the HAP scheme prove to be excellent tenants.

On the other hand, the estate agent was obviously intent on safeguarding the interests of the landlord/landlady who had employed and instructed him.

This ruling indicates that owners or estate agents have no rights whatsoever in terms of choosing tenants, which is unreasonable and dangerous, as it suggests that we are living in a type of socialist’s state.

It would be more fitting if our minister for housing put separate legislation in place to deal effectively with greedy developers and vulture fund personnel who are not only imposing unreasonably high rentals on vulnerable tenants, but also evicting others by selling off large blocks of property.

These predators display little compassion or ethical standards and are distorting the market for personal gain.

Ministers are well remunerated for their services and should have kept their finger on the property-pulse.

Surely, no one needs to be reminded of what happened during the disastrous Celtic tiger era.

Many small-type landlords/landladies have made sacrifices to put their small business portfolios, of one or two houses, together in order to enhance their pensions and enjoy their golden years in some semblance of comfort.

These people rarely impose unsustainable rent-reviews on well-behaved, trustworthy tenants due to the inconvenience associated with re-letting.

Such private enterprises could actually be categorized as SME’s as owners and relatives usually re-decorate the properties themselves before putting them back on the market.

Instead, such landlord/landladies are subjected to an ever-increasing plethora of new draconian rules and regulation devised by the minister and now supported by recent judicial findings.

The current crisis needs to be addressed in an honest, effective manner.

Furthermore, it is recommended that ministers and the judiciary stop interfering with small–type landlords/landladies lest they depart from the market completely.

These properties are owned by private citizens.

On has to ask oneself what will Mr Coveney’s next strategy be?

Compulsory acquisition perhaps if somebody else make a discriminatory complaint!

Margaret Humphreys,

Blarney

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