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Darragh O'Brien. PA
tenant rights

'I take the rights of tenants very seriously': O'Brien responds to rental property controversy

Darragh O’Brien’s comments come after two Cabinet ministers failed to register their rental properties.

THE MINISTER FOR Housing said that landlords should be “acutely aware” of their obligations to tenants, by registering their rental properties to the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB).

Darragh O’Brien made the comments after two Cabinet ministers failed to register their rental properties.

It emerged last week that Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly did not renew his registration of a Dublin rental property with the RTB in 2019.

The Fianna Fáil TD for Wicklow said that it was registered in 2011, and renewed in 2015, but that he missed the renewal date in 2019.

His party colleague Robert Troy resigned as junior minister last week for failing to declare properties on the Irish parliament’s register of members’ interests correctly and also failing to register a rental property with the RTB.

Asked whether he was embarrassed by the actions of his party colleagues, Mr O’Brien said: “I take the rights of tenants very, very seriously as Minister.

“From the very first week I took over as Minister, I established a group that all the NGOs who work in this space, both in the homeless services and on tenants rights, have full access to me and have informed me in the changes that I’ve made to policy in that space in protecting tenants rights in strengthening RPZs (rent pressure zones), in bringing in the rental cap of 2% that’s in place there now as well.

“But also making sure that we’ve new forms of renting that’s backed by the state, like cost rental which is affordable, state-backed rents with long-term, secure tenancies.

“I think people are acutely aware of their obligations and what I would say is that, obviously over the last week, I think even more so, but I think that’s been addressed significantly over the last week.”

The Fianna Fáil minister made the comments at the launch of a report by the housing charity Threshold, which found that found that a third of renters are spending 50% of their income on rent.

Threshold CEO John-Mark McCafferty, stressed the importance of landlords recording their rental properties with the RTB.”I think it’s really important that both tenants and landlords adhere to the legislation as per the Residential Tenancies Act, and it’s effective at the RTB,” Mr McCafferty added.

“In some ways, it probably underlines the importance of registering your tenancy, that this issue has come up a number of times in recent weeks. It’s a reminder to all landlords that registering their tenancy is very, very important.

“It makes it more difficult for a tenant to pursue some kind of service like mediation with a landlord or indeed some kind of dispute with a landlord.

“One of the things we do is we assist tenants with a case that they might have, or a dispute with the landlord, some of those go to a hearing. We are representing the tenants often in those situations, and I suppose where those things aren’t recorded, it could slow down the process of seeking that process and therefore justice.”

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