Monday, 29th August 2011
Filed under: LegalNews

It has been reported that the Minister of State for Housing, Mr. Willie Penrose, has asked the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB) to investigate whether there is a need to introduce a deposit protection scheme for people who rent properties.  

The Minister’s request follows a night of protest by members of the Student Union of Ireland outside the Department of the Environment to highlight the issue of landlords unjustly withholding deposits from tenants. 

The idea of deposit protection has been a long standing issue for the Union of Students in Ireland who argue that such a scheme is necessary to protect students who they claim are increasingly experiencing difficulties when seeking the return of deposits from landlords. 

According to Union president Gary Redmond, the union deals with hundreds of cases annually of students who were unable to retrieve their deposits when their tenancy ended. Many more students have been excessively penalised for matters such a wear and tear. Under the Residential Tenancies Act 2004, landlords have a duty to promptly return deposits unless rent is owed or there is damage that is considered beyond normal wear and tear.

A deposit protection scheme is already in place in the UK and New Zealand. Under the UK model the landlord either hands the deposit over to a third party for the duration of the lease or he/she takes up an insurance scheme which pays out if there is a dispute between the landlord and tenant.