Deposit amounts should be set by landlords, says property owners’ group

Upfront charges to be limited to two months’ rent under plans to be brought to Cabinet

Under measures in place now, people in receipt of a Covid-related payment who are at risk of homelessness or in arrears are shielded from rent increases or eviction. File photograph: iStock

Under measures in place now, people in receipt of a Covid-related payment who are at risk of homelessness or in arrears are shielded from rent increases or eviction. File photograph: iStock

 

Deposit amounts should be left at the discretion of landlords rather than the value limit of a two month rent deposit to be discussed at Cabinet today, a spokeswoman for the Irish Property Owners’ Association has said.

Margaret McCormack told RTÉ Radio’s Today show that landlords were “the ones taking the risk” and so the amount of the deposit should be left up to them.

The new protections being suggested and the existing protections were all in favour of the tenants, she said.

There was a lengthy process with which landlords had to engage if they wanted tenants who had not paid their rent to leave. It could take up to 18 months, she said, during which time they were not receiving any income and yet had a mortgage to pay.

“The person who loses the most is the landlord,” she said.

Ms McCormack said there was only a small number of renters in trouble because of the existing supports and that most landlords were being very helpful while negotiating with the banks, but that there was “nothing there” to help landlords.

“They need to be able to manage risk,” she said.

Ms McCormack also pointed out that in a survey at the end of 2019, 71 per cent of her members had said they did not receive money they were awarded through judgements by the Rental Tenancies Board.

Upfront charges

Landlords will be barred from charging a tenant more than the value of two months’ rental payments in deposits and other payments as upfront charges when moving into a new property, the Government is to propose.

The reform is contained in plans being brought to Cabinet by Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien and Minister for Higher and Further Education Simon Harris.

Under the plans, students will be given the option to pay monthly for accommodation in case there is a fourth wave of Covid-19. This is aimed at ensuring students and their families do not lose out on deposits or rent, as happened in some cases last year.

However, students in student-specific accommodation who wish to pay for a semester in upfront rental payments will still be permitted to do so.

There will also be a change introduced whereby a termination notice given by someone in that cohort and tenancy type will be limited to no more than 28 days.

Mr O’Brien will seek Cabinet approval on Wednesday to extend Covid-19 rental protections for people in receipt of a Covid-related payment who are at risk of homelessness or in arrears.

Currently these people are shielded from rent increases or eviction, but the protection, which was due to expire on July 12th, will be extended to January 12th.