Charity calls for tenant protection as landlord's demand two month deposits

Threshold is calling on the government to commence the deposit protection scheme

One of Ireland’s national housing charities has called on the housing minister to commence the deposit protection scheme.

The call from Threshold comes amid reports that one of Ireland’s largest private landlords is forcing some tenants to pay two months deposit – alongside the first month’s rent – in order to secure accommodation.

The deposit protection scheme is already provided for in the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 2015.

Threshold CEO Dr Aideen Hayden warned that while common practice dictates that a deposit should be the equivalent of one month’s rent - there is currently no legislation in place to enforce it.

“This needs to be addressed to protect tenants,” she said. “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.”

"Threshold is deeply committed to the introduction of a deposit protection scheme, in particular as the loss of a deposit can be a cause of homelessness where a tenant does not have the resources to provide a deposit for a new lease.”

Record rents

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.

Landlords meanwhile are defending their right to demand higher deposits – claiming that deposits need to be high enough to protect the property owner.

Margaret McCormack IPOA told Newstalk Breakfast the traditional one month deposit sometimes doesn't cover costs when homes are damaged:

“Property is a very expensive item in the first place to actually purchase and if that happened that people are substantially refurbishing after they have been destroyed by a tenant one month’s rent will do very little to repair that damage.