Seanad debates

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Residential Tenancies (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 2018: Second Stage

 

2:30 pm

Photo of Colm BurkeColm Burke (Fine Gael)

We have seen where tenants have abused their situation and just moved into a new property because there are no checks and balances in the system. We need to be careful about this.

I have always had a strong view about this. I have no problem with investors investing in the property market here. It is welcome. I keep raising the issue of long-term tenancies and making the tenant responsible for the internal maintenance of the property. We need to do much more on that.In many cases, landlords are providing furniture, carpets, curtains and all ancillary services in addition to the house or apartment itself. We need to move in a direction where maintenance is a shared responsibility between landlord and tenant. The existing legislation is not adequate in this regard.

The final issue I wish to raise is the situation of landlords whose sole business is letting property. They do not enjoy the same benefits as anyone else running a business in terms of transferring the property to a family member or selling it. In fact, they are liable for the full amount of capital gains tax. If we are not careful, we will end up in a situation where only the bare minimum of work is done on existing rentals. That is exactly what happened when restricted rent was introduced 40 or 50 years ago, which resulted in a serious deterioration in the condition of rental properties. We need to find the right balance in this matter. We must protect tenants, particularly families, and ensure they have adequate notice of having to moving out, but we must also ensure there is a balancing protection for landlords.

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