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Labour to bring forward legislation to ban landlords charging prospective tenants to view property

Some people were being charged up to €500 to view an apartment.

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Stock photo.
Image: Shutterstock/ElenaChaykinaPhotography

THE LABOUR PARTY is bringing forward legislation which would ban the practice of landlords and letting agents charging potential tenants fees for viewing their property.

Last week, TheJournal.ie reported how one woman claimed she was told she would have to pay €500 to view one property.

Agents working at housing charity Threshold said it has recently received phone calls from people querying the practice. 

Labour’s Jan O’Sullivan said that there needs to be legislation in place to tackle this “unscrupulous” behaviour.

She said: “I was shocked to read over the weekend that some landlords and letting agencies are beginning to charge fees of up to €500 to allow potential tenants to view their property. 

“Rents are rising at a rapid rate across the country and so many people are already priced out of the rental market. The idea that landlords are charging viewing fees is taking advantage of people who find themselves at the centre of the precarious housing crisis.

“Responding to calls from Threshold, the Labour Party has produced legislation to ban this unscrupulous practice. There are already many barriers and stresses for renters, we don’t need this kind of carry on to become a trend. It is just another example of people using the housing crisis to make a quick buck and exploit the precariousness of the housing crisis.”

Stephen Large of Threshold says that landlords and agencies requesting viewing fees is becoming more common.

Increasingly, he said his charity is seeing “further barriers” that prevent people from accessing accommodation. 

Current demand on the Irish rental market means people have very few options, says Large.

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He said: “Although now we have legislation in place people don’t have options. The bar has never been lower.”

Large said that at the moment there’s no legislation preventing landlords and agencies asking for fees prior to property viewings. 

“It’s a grey area. It’s an area that’s open to abuse and has been abused. There is room there for exploitation.” 

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