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Tuesday, September 27, 2022

More than a third of rental properties near UCC ‘not registered with RTB’

More than one third of private rented properties near University College Cork are not registered with Residential Tenancies Board (RTB), it has been claimed.

For the fourth time in six years, a sample check of almost 300 private rented properties near UCC shows that almost 100 appear not to have been registered with the RTB by landlords.

And nearly two-thirds of those have been unregistered for five years, the Magazine Road and Surrounding Areas Residents Association has said.

Group chairwoman Catherine Clancy said their latest findings, coming in the wake of the recent high-profile cases involving TD landlords with unregistered properties, shows that there appears to be little or no appetite in the RTB for enforcement, and proves the need for a complete overhaul of the system.

A system that relies on landlords to self-regulate is not working for us as residents and, in our experience, is not fit for purpose,” she said.

Legislation enacted in 2014 requires all privately rented properties to be registered with the RTB, and the residents’ association began tracking the registration of private rented properties in its area in 2017.

In its most recent spot check earlier this month, the association checked its record of 269 privately rented properties with the RTB’s database, and found that 99 appear not to be registered with the RTB.

Of these 99, some 67 were first flagged with the RTB following the residents’ first spot-check in 2017.

In the wake of the Robert Troy controversy, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the apparent lack of enforcement by the RTB was not an issue of resources.

But Ms Clancy said if resourcing is not the issue, then enforcement rates should be higher.

“The non-compliance by landlords on their statutory requirement has serious consequences for tenants’ security of tenure, neighbours, and the local community,” she said.

This results in a closed door or delays in resolving issues and with the RTB failing in their duty of care to us as a third party.

“The residents’ association believes the consistency of non-registration of privately rented properties over many years requires a complete system change within the RTB.” 

The residents wrote to the RTB chairman in February, calling for enforcement action on the unregistered properties, but Ms Clancy said that seven months on, they are still waiting for action.

A spokesman for the RTB said on Wednesday that it was not in a position to comment, pointing instead to its website, where it says the RTB does not wish to prosecute landlords. 

“We will work with landlords to assist them in registering their tenancies if they contact us on receipt of the formal notification and in advance of any summons issuing,” it stated. “However, if a summons has issued, then the case will go to court.”

A person who does not comply with their responsibility to register their tenancy/ tenancies faces a criminal conviction and a fine of up to €4,000 and/or six months’ imprisonment, if convicted.

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