Landlords are being urged to register with the Private Residential Tenancy Board by certain members of Clare County Council.
Sinn Féin’s Mike McKee at the most recent meeting of the local authority put forward a motion “That Clare County Council call on the relevant Department to identify and initiate proceedings against landlords who fail to register with the PRTB and who continue to flaunt the law by refusing to accept HAP/Rent Supplement.”
In response, Director of Service, Liam Conneally stated “Non-compliance with the Registration Board requirements under Section 144 of the Residential Tenancies Act 2014 is enforced by the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) and can result in prosecution by the RTB in the District Court. In this regard the RTB investigates all reports of non-compliance with property registration requirements”.
Conneally added “The Equality (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2015 is relevant to the second part of the motion and provides that persons seeking housing accommodation shall not be discriminated against on grounds that they are in receipt of rent supplement or other State assistance. Complaints in respect of this provision can be made to the Workplace Relations Commission at www.workplacerelations.ie”. In his view the council must set the example with housing standards.
Cllr McKee said landlords are not fully utilising the PRTB or the advice available for them and that they are oblivious to the seriousness of not registering with the agency. The Shannon resident pushed the council to chase up on “rogue landlords”. He added that it was “too important an issue to be brushed under the carpet, if money is needed then money should be given”.
Ann Norton spoke out in support of McKee’s motion. She feels the council is under huge pressure due to the short amount of houses. Norton outlined that the first part of the motion deals with landlords not complying with the law. “(It) needs to be investigated, needs to be clamped down otherwise the people renting houses don’t have a say”. The Independent Cllr believes prosecutions must be taken for landlords breaking the law.
Fianna Fáil’s Cathal Crowe labelled it as an “excellent motion”. He said there are “more vacant properties than homeless people” in the county. Crowe said more policing is needed by the council and maintained that there is no excuse for having homeless people. “We’re the housing authority in this county and the onus is on us”.
Cllr Gerry Flynn admitted he was taken aback by the wording of the motion and highlighted the phrase “initiate proceedings against landlords”. Flynn said “I would not be coming down as strong as that, it’s totally disingenuous to support something like this. HAP is not the answer, there are three parts to it and in Clare we’re on part three, Limerick are further ahead we need to be on the same level”. He feels that Clare is treated “as the poor relation” and added that the market rate is falling €200 short of what’s available in the market. Flynn concluded saying he would support the motion if the wording was changed.