New problem for renters to worry about

Vulnerable tenants in Ireland who are happily living in rented properties are being evicted by sheriffs when their landlords fall into arrears.

Housing charity Threshold has revealed that they are receiving two or three calls each week from desperate renters who are in the middle of crossfire between private landlords and financial institutions. The charity warns that with one in three buy-to-let properties in mortgage default a large number of tenants are at serious risk of losing their home. It is becoming a huge issue that has to be addressed.

Bob Jordan, charity director, said “Financial institutions can sometimes ignore the rights of tenants in their pursuit of the landlord’s assets. A worrying new phenomenon is the appointment of rent receivers by lending institutions, to bypass landlords and collect the rent directly from tenants. The first time the tenant hears about it is when a sheriff knocks on the door to repossess the property. In the past 12 months, we have dealt with an increasing number of cases where tenants have been threatened with eviction by both their landlord and a rent receiver if they do not hand over the rent to either party. This places the tenant in an impossible position.”

More and more queries related to the illegal retention of tenants’ deposits by landlords are also being made by renters in Northern Ireland and now deposit retention has become one of the greatest barriers to the smooth operation of the private rented sector. While landlords are entitled to keep deposits in certain circumstances, such as having to claim on landlord insurance because of damage caused to the property, almost 83% of deposit disputes that go before the Private Residential Tenancies Board result in either some or all of the money being returned to the tenant. Housing charities claim this proves that most landlord claims are not legitimate and that they are just trying to deny tenants their rightful return of cash deposited in good faith.

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