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Wednesday 1 February 2023 Dublin: 6°C
# Lease agreements
Renters 'paying hundreds for professional cleaners' to get deposit back
The claim was made in the Dáil during a debate on a Labour party bill.

RENTERS ARE BEING forced to pay “hundreds of euro” to get properties professionally cleaned to get a deposit back, the Dáil has heard. 

The claim was made during a debate on a Labour party bill that seeks to increase protections for tenants, freeze rents for three years and “bring rental rules into the 21st century”. 

Tabling the bill this morning, Labour TD Ivana Bacik said there is a “serious power imbalance” between landlords and renters and that there needs to be a “cultural shift” to change this. 

“Just yesterday, another constituent told me of a direct experience of leases containing a condition that tenants must pay a professional cleaner to have their rental property cleaned before they will get a deposit back, which is essentially an additional cost, in many cases of hundreds of euros, for tenants to get apartments professionally cleaned,” Bacik said. 

I hear this is a standard clause in many rental contracts.  It is very frustrating for renters and a clear example of the serious power imbalance that prevails between landlords and tenants that we seek to address in this Bill. 

She added: “We need to ensure renting becomes a long-term, viable and sustainable option for people in Ireland.  We also need to ensure we have a cultural shift to skew away from this vision of renting as always being in terms of a landlord’s investment and income.”

Bacik’s comments come after Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said yesterday that there needed to be “a balance” between the regulation of property rental costs and income for landlords

Varadkar had said that “one person’s rent is another person’s income’.

Supporting Labour’s bill and addressing Varadkar’s comments, Sinn Féin TD Eoin Ó Broin said the Tánaiste’s comment “betrays an appalling ignorance of the reality in the rental market”. 

“The very widespread reaction to the comments of the Tánaiste yesterday and today is evidence of that. There is no balance at all between the rights of landlords and those of tenants in the current market.  That is why there has been a doubling in rent across the State in recent years,” he said.

Among the provisions of the bill, it is proposed that the entire country be designated as a Rent Pressure Zone (RPZ) and that rents be frozen for three years.

It is also proposed to make tenancies more secure by removing a number of grounds on which a landlord can terminate a lease.

Among them is the ground by which a landlord can terminate a tenancy if they intend to sell the property within three months.

Bacik told the Dáil that a Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) report had shown that, since 2019, more than half of notices to quit were because the landlord intended to sell the property.  

She said that this ground cannot be used in many countries and “this is what we need here”. 

The bill also seeks to tighten rules around the ending of tenancies due to a family member of the landlord moving into the property. 

Currently, landlords can terminate a tenancy if they seek to make it available for a family member to move in. The bill seeks to tighten that rule to make it spouses or children only. 

The bill would also stop landlords prohibiting their tenant from hanging clothes to dry in the garden or balcony and also removes any absolute prohibition on pet ownership.

The government has said it will not oppose the bill and will “consider any positive ideas contained in the Bill” ahead of its own planned legislation for renters later this year.

Speaking during the debate, Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien welcomed the bill.

“Everyone can agree there is a need to ensure the residential sector is an attractive option for tenants and landlords.  We need a sustainable and adequate supply of homes to rent to meet current and future demand,” he said.

We need those rents to be at an affordable level.  Tenants who are renting need to have certainty that as long as they pay their rent and meet their obligations they will be able to stay comfortably in the property they are renting.

The ministers said, however, that any measures adopted “must be capable of withstanding legal challenge”.

“We know the rental market is dynamic and constantly changing in response to fluctuations in supply and demand.  We must be careful that abrupt legal or regulatory changes do not undermine confidence in the sector or add to uncertainty for both tenants and landlords. Unintended consequences may arise in such cases,” he said. 

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