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Call for inquiry after €32m in state rental deposits goes missing

A Dublin TD is calling the situation a ‘scandal’.
Aug 11th 2012, 1:25 PM 6,843 34

“BIZARRE” AND A “scandal” is how Dublin south west Sinn Féin TD Seán Crowe is describing the revelation that €32 million in rental deposits paid out on behalf of recipients of rent allowance has gone missing.

Yesterday a report in the Irish Times revealed that none of the €32 million paid out in deposits for rental properties since 2006 has been returned to the Department of Social Protection.

Crowe has said today that the news that the Department is not inquiring where the money has gone is ” a scandal that needs urgent and detailed investigation”.

Kevin Humphreys, Labour TD for Dublin south east has said that no procedures are in place for the recovery of such deposits, and that in 2008 alone more than €7 million was spent on deposit-related ‘exceptional needs payments’.

He’s calling for the implementation of a rental deposit scheme operated by the Private Rental Tenancies Board, which he said would protect the sums paid to private landlords, and prevent deposits being wrongfully retained.

He also said that a mechanism needs to be put in place to ensure that those in receipt of rent supplement return their deposits to the State when they move on to social housing or into private accomodation.

Seán Crowe highlights the possibility that the reduction of rent allowances is leading tenants to break the terms of the leases, meaning that the landlord keeps the security deposit.

Crowe said that the government’s decision to cut the rent supplement by €22bn has “resulted in serious difficulties” for many tenants.

A report commissioned by the PRTB is on a proposed deposit protection scheme is due in the autumn, while Seán Crowe is calling for an overhaul of the current system:

… and assurances that taxpayers hard-earned money is accounted for adequately and that tenants are protected from losing deposits and finding themselves unable to seek alternative accommodation as a result.

Read: Dark, damp room or the street – this is the choice faced by many>

Opinion: Landlords who don’t accept rent allowance are lazy – and classist>

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Emer McLysaght

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