A leading housing charity has called on the housing minister to start the deposit protection scheme as people will be put at risk of homelessness if landlords are allowed to demand deposits of two-months from would-be tenants before they are given the keys to a new home.
The deposit protection scheme is already provided for in the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 2015. There is no legal impediment stopping a landlord from demanding a deposit of any amount which means that people on lower incomes who are trying to find a home in the current market are in danger of being squeezed out, the chairwoman of Threshold, Aideen Hayden has warned.
She said setting the financial bar so high was, effectively, screening potential tenants to ensure those on lower incomes could not get access to certain properties. “This needs to be addressed to protect tenants. The previous coalition Government in 2011 committed to the introduction of a deposit protection scheme and passed enabling legislation in 2015. However, the relevant section has yet to be activated.
Ms Hayden was speaking after it emerged that Irish Residential Properties Reit (Ires Reit), which owns 2,400 apartments in greater Dublin, had started imposing such a precondition on would-be tenants.
The Irish Rental Price Report from Daft.ie for the first quarter of this year found that the average rent nationwide now stands at €1131 – an all-time high. At that price, a tenant would require €3393 in hand to secure accommodation where a landlord insisted on a two month deposit.
With the average rent in South Dublin for the same period at €1,787 – a tenant would require €5,361. Threshold has called on Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy to introduce the scheme as a matter of priority and to ensure that the law stipulates that one month’s deposit is sufficient.