Up to five illegal eviction cases each week, says RTB

Most serious cases involve ‘someone going in and changed the locks’ to evict tenants

 

There are four to five cases of illegal evictions being dealt with by the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) each week, the director has said.

The latest RTB rent index shows that the average rent for new tenancies nationally rose by just under 10 per cent in the third quarter of this year, when compared with the same period last year.

Rents have surpassed the boom time peak. In Dublin, the average rent paid was €1,518 (up from €1,382 a year earlier) with the average in the greater Dublin area (Meath, Wicklow and Kildare) at €1,086 (up from €1,020 a year earlier).

RTB director Rosalind Carroll said 10 per cent in a year was a “sharp increase”.

“That’s a lot of money to be paying in the market,” she said.

“This is a measure of new tenancies, this isn’t a reflection of what’s happening with existing tenancies within the market.”

Ms Carroll said she had hoped the increase would not be this high.

The RTB is launching a new awareness campaign driven at both tenants and landlords on Wednesday.

Ms Carroll told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland the Minister of Housing needed to do more about the enforcement of rent pressure zones.

“Landlords increasing rents incorrectly continues, we’ve seen 133 per cent increase in the number of rent review disputes about whether the notice period was correct. It could be a dispute about whether 4 per cent was correct, we are finding in general that most of those are wrong,” she said.

“We need to go out and make sure landlords are doing the right thing across a number of ranges.

“We want more people to take cases, because we’re coming off a low base in terms of the number of cases coming to us. We’re still looking at only 400 cases per annum.”

Ms Carroll said most cases are resolved with the landlord without going to court, but that the RTB acted quickly in such cases.

She said last Friday the RTB went to court to get an emergency injunction to halt an illegal eviction.

She said at present the RTB did not have the power to go out and investigate and enforce cases.

“We are working on a legal framework with the Department, primary legislation requires the Minister to bring that forward,” she said.

Ms Carroll said the most serious type of case that comes to the RTB are of illegal eviction, “where some one went in and changed the locks”.

“We’re seeing four to five of those per week. Most of those we resolve informally, we call the landlord and they don’t end up in the court process, but where they do end up coming in to us, the most significant amount of damage in past month was €15,000.

“We would never support the idea that you can go in and change the locks. That’s why the RTB was established in the first place, so there was a protection there and that the law wasn’t taken into your own hands.”