Seanad debates

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Residential Tenancies (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 2012: Committee Stage

 

SECTION 1

Government amendment No. 1:

2:30 pm

Photo of Paudie CoffeyPaudie Coffey (Waterford, Fine Gael)
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This is a technical drafting amendment to provide for the amendment of the collective citation of the Housing Acts.

Amendment agreed to.

Photo of Paddy BurkePaddy Burke (Cathaoirleach of Seanad; Fine Gael)
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Amendments Nos. 2, 53, 54, 83, 86 and 102 to 104, inclusive, are related and may be discussed together by agreement. Is that agreed? Agreed. Amendment No. 103 is a logical alternative to amendment No. 53.

Government amendment No. 2:

Photo of Paudie CoffeyPaudie Coffey (Waterford, Fine Gael)
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Amendments Nos. 2, 53, 54, 83 and 86, taken together, will bring much-needed stability to the rental sector pending the coming on stream of the supply of new housing. These amendments will extend the period between the reviews of rent, extend the minimum period of notice of new rent, and introduce new requirements for the notification of new rent and the formal provision of information as regards the confirmation of tenancies and the rights and obligations of tenants and landlords.

Under the 2004 Act, the rent for all tenancies may be reviewed every 12 months. Amendment No. 53 provides that this period be extended to 24 months. This means that anyone who has had a rent review in 2015 will not face a rent review again until at least 2017. There is no change to the mechanism for determining rents under legislation, which is by reference to the market rent, but there will now be a longer period of predictable rent. The provision is subject to a sunset clause such that the period will revert to every 12 months in four years' time.

The Act currently provides that a landlord give his or her tenant a minimum of 28 days' notice of new rent. Amendment No. 54 provides for the extension of this notice period to a minimum of 90 days, giving tenants a longer period to challenge or dispute the proposed new rent or find new accommodation if necessary. Such a measure was recommended in the DKM report entitled Rent Stability in the Private Rented Sector, which was commissioned by the PRTB.

Amendment No. 54 also provides that a landlord, when notifying a tenant of new rent as required under section 22 of the 2004 Act, will now have to provide the notification in a prescribed form. The form will include the provision of information to the tenant in relation to the dispute resolution procedures that a tenant can pursue through the PRTB. The form will also have to be accompanied by information on the rents of three other similar dwellings in the area. The purpose of this amendment is to ensure that tenants are adequately informed on prevailing rents and aware of their rights under the Act, particularly in regard to market rent and the procedures for bringing a dispute to the PRTB where a tenant believes the new rent is in excess of market rent.

While the PRTB currently sends information of a tenancy registration to the landlord, amendment No. 83 provides that, in future, both landlords and tenants will be notified of a tenancy registration in a prescribed form and the notice will, inter alia, advise both parties of their rights and obligations relating to the setting and review of rent, security of tenure under Part 4 of the Act, determination of tenancies and dispute resolution procedures available through the PRTB.The confirmation form will also state that the PRTB routinely discloses information to the Revenue Commissioners. In addition to notifying the PRTB of an increase in rent within one month, as is currently required under section 139 of the Act, landlords will be required as a result of amendment No. 86 to provide additional supporting information in a prescribed form. This will include a signed statement by the tenant that they have been made aware of their rights on rent and rent reviews along with information on market rent for three similar dwellings in the area. This amendment will further ensure that tenants are fully informed of their rights in relation to market rent. I would like to flag to the Seanad that the Government intends to bring forward another amendment on Report Stage to section 139 regarding further information on the registration form. Together with the new notice provided for under section 22, this will ensure that all parties are aware of their rights and the consequences of any infringement of those rights. This will assist in protecting tenants from illegal rent increases and will also act to discourage landlords from breaking the law.

In regard to the Opposition amendments grouped with these amendments, amendment No. 102 proposes to amend the 2004 Act such that the rent would be reviewed by reference to the rate of inflation. In providing for an extension to the period in which rent reviews may occur from 12 to 24 months, the Government decided on an approach that would bring stability and predictability for the tenant but without changing the fundamental mechanism for the setting and reviewing of rent as laid down in the 2004 Act. The Government is mindful of the need not only to protect tenants from the circumstances that currently exist, but also not to deter investment in any way. Amendment No. 53 achieves that balance and so I cannot accept the amendment tabled by the Senators.

Amendment No. 103 proposes that a review of rent may not occur more often than once in each period of 24 months. This is already provided for by the Government amendment No. 53.

Amendment No. 104 proposes to empower the PRTB to work with local authorities to set a local standard of rent based on the size and location of the accommodation. This would entail a fundamental departure from the principle laid down in the Act whereby rent is set by reference to the market, where a market rent is defined as the rent which a willing tenant, not already in occupation, would give and a willing landlord would take for the dwelling. As I have outlined already, the Government has decided not to alter the mechanism for the setting and reviewing of rent as laid down in the 2004 Act and has decided on an approach that balances the needs of tenants and landlords and investors alike. For this reason, I cannot accept the amendment.

Amendment No. 2 amends the commencement provision in the published Bill to provide for the commencement on enactment of three of the provisions announced in the package of measures to support housing supply and rent stability generally. These are the extension of the duration between rent reviews from 12 to 24 months, the extension of the period of notice of a new rent from 28 days to 90 days and the extension of the period of notice of termination of a further Part 4 tenancy. Rents are increasing and it is imperative that we act quickly in order to bring stability to the market. The Government amendments to the Bill will ensure stability and predictability and a level of certainty that will stabilise the market until such time as the property and construction sector recovers to sustainable levels and the supply increases and there is normality in the rental sector.

Photo of Jillian van TurnhoutJillian van Turnhout (Independent)
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I welcome the Minister of State to the House. While the amendments fall far short of the measures of rent certainty I would like to have seen introduced, for example, rent increases that are in line with an external measurement such as the consumer price index, which has been suggested by Threshold, I welcome them as a much needed and long overdue first step.The latest quarterly daft.iereport published today shows that in the third quarter of 2015, rents rose nationwide by an average of 3.2%, which represents the largest three-month jump in rent since 2007. Supply on the rental market is at its tightest on record with just 4,000 properties available to rent nationwide, very few of which offer affordable family accommodation. The current monopolistic private rental market characterised by rapidly increasing rents and a complete dearth of housing supply is intrinsically linked to our spiralling homelessness and risk of homelessness crises. I have spoken on this issue on a number of occasions but I plan to speak only on this grouping of amendments so I ask the Minister of State to bear with me. I have a number of questions and look forward to hearing the Minister of State's answers from the floor. I would be happy to forward any of these questions in writing if they require further time for consideration.

In November 2014, homelessness agencies reported that 700 children were living in emergency accommodation. In 12 months, this figure has grown to 1,500 and it is highly likely that this number will continue to increase as supply continues to be constrained and there is no indication of a step-change in new supply given the pipeline of sites that are ready for development with available finance. Recently announced modular housing will only serve to meet part of the backlog. The private rental sector is likely to remain attractive to those who can afford it and those who cannot access home ownership, the so-called young professionals. Affordable family accommodation is therefore chronically undersupplied. Does the Minister of State have a figure for the projected demand for emergency accommodation for families with children? What is the Minister of State planning for?

Setting aside numbers in emergency accommodation, research has shown that when homelessness among children increases, it is coupled with a rise in children living in unsuitable or overcrowded accommodation, sometimes sharing with other families, which parents view as preferable to presenting as homeless. Does the Minister of State have an estimated figure for the number of children living in overcrowded accommodation? Has a study been done into this area of concern or is one planned? I and many of the children's rights organisations following these issues are deeply concerned by the immediate and long-term impacts for children who are placed in emergency accommodation. Temporary accommodation, whether hostel, emergency or another form of temporary accommodation, can adversely impact on children. In many cases, the lack of stability and uncertainty is deeply worrying for children. This is reflected in anecdotal evidence from the ISPCC Childline service. It affects children's ability to play due to lack of space. Often, quiet spaces to study are impossible to find. At worse, lack of natural light and outdoor spaces is likely to affect development. Children report being very stressed and often hide this stress and worry from their parents who are often struggling.

Emergency and hotel accommodation is the most concerning type of accommodation for homeless children. It should only be used in exceptional circumstances. It is increasingly being used as the norm because of the severe lack of purpose-built temporary accommodation for families. I am genuinely concerned about child protection, safety and security issues and a range of developmental impacts, as I have set out briefly.

Has Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, been involved in assessing the suitability of hotels and hostels that are housing families with children? If so, has it determined that some forms of accommodation are unsuitable? Who determines whether there may be child protection risks? Are individuals working in hotels where homeless children are placed Garda vetted? If not, why not? I appreciate that hotel staff are not normally vetted, but placing children in hotels as a formal State intervention to the homelessness crisis changes the said hotel's official usage. The children are living there, playing there and growing up there. On this basis, they could be of interest to predators. It is essential that urgent steps are taken to ensure all children in emergency accommodation are safe. In other jurisdictions with similar homelessness levels, emergency accommodation is used as an exception and for no more than six weeks. How many children have lived in emergency accommodation for more than six weeks?Does the Minister of State agree this is unacceptable? Are wraparound services available for all families in emergency accommodation? What steps are being taken to work with families to help them to secure and keep a tenancy elsewhere?

Have officials from the Minister of State's Department been assigned to inspect emergency accommodation and its suitability for children on an ongoing basis, for example, to assess the safety and security of shared and communal areas and the availability of safe spaces to play? Has the Minister of State required providers of emergency accommodation to make accommodation suitable for children? Has Tusla been involved in advising on suitability?

I have some questions on the new modular housing project for Dublin. Will the design of modular housing reflect the fact that it is to be purpose-built accommodation for homeless families? Will the design meet the needs of children? Will there be sufficient space for children in which to play? Will the Child and Family Agency and other appropriate bodies and agencies be consulted on the design of the accommodation? If so, when?

Photo of Kathryn ReillyKathryn Reilly (Sinn Fein)
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I welcome the Minister of State to the House to discuss this legislation, particularly in light of announcements in recent weeks. We have known for a number of years that a shortage of housing and an absence of meaningful rent regulations were leading to continual and unsustainable rent increases across the State. As Senator van Turnhout mentioned, data from daft.ieshow that, since September, rents have risen across the State by 3.2%. However, it is not just an issue that is restricted to the cities and urban centres. In my constituency, for example, the increase in Monaghan in September was recorded at 6.8%, and in Cavan the increase was an astonishing 10%. That is not to mention the increase of between 8.9% and 13.5% last year in urban centres. Foot-dragging on how to tackle the crisis has encouraged landlords to raise rents even further in preparation for the measures coming down the line.

With regard to our amendment, No. 103, and the Minister of State's amendment No. 53, we welcome the decision to delay rent reviews by a further 12 months. For the past five years, Sinn Féin has been calling on the Government to implement a system of regulation of rents that would not only limit increases, but also deal directly with existing unaffordable rents, as has been done with great success in cities such as Berlin. The PRTB should be empowered to set local standard rates with a maximum deviation based on the size of the accommodation. Amendment No. 104, in our name, would achieve that. The standards could be imposed by existing tenants via a review request when one becomes available, and new tenancies would be required to meet these standards immediately. As I stated, Berlin has implemented a similar model with great success. There has already been a decrease in rents in that city of approximately 5%.

We all know rents are too high now. If they were frozen, they would still be too high next year. It is important to remember that. It is the reality for all tenants in the State, especially those in the capital. It is important that we, as legislators, do something to try to address this, and that is why we have tabled amendments Nos. 102 to 104, inclusive. We recognise that amendment No. 103 is unnecessary given the Minister of State's amendment, No. 53.

Photo of Katherine ZapponeKatherine Zappone (Independent)
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I compliment the Minister of State and Minister on the measures that aim to provide rent certainty for both landlords and tenants in the private rental sector. It is very positive and welcome for those thousands of families who, as we speak, are at risk of homelessness, which could become a reality for them if rents rise further. I have met a number of such families recently throughout the constituency of Dublin South-West.

I consider these measures to be fair. They could not be considered punitive for landlords. I am using the word "punitive" in a strong sense. I note landlords will miss the opportunity to review the rent three times during the relevant period of four years, but they will be allowed to adjust rents to the market level every 24 months during the four-year period. That measure will create more stability in the market. Therefore, it would be less likely that losses in market rents will be significant.

It is to be welcomed that there will be more emphasis on the landlord's responsibility to demonstrate a justifiable market rent. However, I am concerned to some extent about the practicality of the arrangements for landlords, particularly in regard to the need to present evidence of three comparable properties, etc., in order to justify an increase in rent. I am particularly concerned about the practicality because, as we know, many landlords in the market are small operators. As we also know, they are treated less favourably in the taxation system than the corporate operators. This Bill does not refer to the taxation of private landlords. I want to keep my comments on what is in front of us in the Bill today. I acknowledge that this matter will be raised in regard to the Finance Bill. There are landlords who may be willing to provide rental accommodation to those on the housing assistance programme. I would have more to say about that in terms of the Government's decision on increasing tax relief across the board. With regard to this Bill, however, we need to consider the time and work involved for landlords. This would need to be balanced against the goals regarding the stabilisation of rents.

Many landlords have stated their intention to leave the sector. We need to protect the current supply so we need to listen to them in terms of both practicalities and taxation, which we will deal with later. Today's landlords are simply trying to be reactive to their own cost base. If there is a greater flight of smaller landlords, we may be opening a space for the vulture funds that could buy into the sector and which may have a negative impact on what we are trying to legislate for today.

I welcome the positive measures the Government is proposing to extend the period of notice for any rent increase. I have a question on the practicalities of that. Does the extension of the period from 28 days to 90 days mean a landlord who in the first period of rent freeze intends to raise the rent must give notice 90 days prior to the ending of the first period of two years? I just cannot find the answer to that in the legislation. I am confident, however, that, by extension, the measures will have a positive impact and help to slow down the rent increases, thereby creating stability on both sides.

Based on consultation with Mr. Mike Allen from Focus Ireland in preparing for the debate, I believe the Bill does not help those who are already in difficulty owing to rent rises so far. Many families are homeless or at risk of homelessness because rent supplement levels have simply fallen behind the market. The Department has been consistent in stating raising the rent supplement levels would only drive rents up further. However, as we now have legislation in front of us that will effectively freeze the rent increases for the next two years, I wonder whether the Government, of which the Minister of State is a representative, will go back to the drawing board and consider raising the maximum rent supplement levels after this legislation becomes operational to help many families who are struggling to secure a long-term home. Since we are effectively freezing the rent, increasing the rent supplement will not drive the rents up.

Photo of Aideen HaydenAideen Hayden (Labour)
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I welcome the Minister of State to the House, and I welcome the legislation and the various amendments. As Members will know, the rent increases and the response thereto are issues I have raised on a number of occasions. Other Members present today have also shown great concern over these issues. It has been asked whether we got the whole cake. The answer is obviously that we did not. I would have liked to have seen rent increases linked to the consumer price index over the longer term because, ultimately, if legislation that gives tenants four years' security of tenure does not give them four years of rent certainty at the same time, their security of tenure is effectively being undermined.That being said, the main question remains: are the measures before us today meaningful, on the issue of rent in particular, and will they assist in a situation that nobody is trying to deny is extremely serious, particularly when it comes to children and homeless families?

I am not going to dwell on this, as I know we have a lot of work in front of us, but I will make a few comments. A total of 739 families actually exited homeless services in the Dublin region between January and September 2015. We are not dealing with the same cohort of people all of the time; we are dealing with people who enter and exit homeless services. Credit is due to the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive for the work it has done in this area. The tenancy protection service, operated by the four Dublin local authorities along with the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive and Threshold, the organisation I chair - prevented 1,346 families from falling into homelessness between January and October 2015. A number of interventions are being made and it is important to recognise them. The most important thing we can do in the current crisis is to prevent people from becoming homeless in the first instance. The tenancy protection service does that by doing exactly what Senator Zappone spoke about - by allowing the rent supplement to be increased to a point at which the family is able to remain in its accommodation, so that it does not become homeless in the first place.

Homelessness is a three-pronged situation. We must act to prevent families from becoming homeless. I agree that we will have to re-examine the issue of rent supplement, but it should only be done in a scenario in which we are doing something to limit the rate of rent increases. Otherwise, we are simply putting Government money into a bottomless pit. Once families become homeless, everything must be done to ensure that their stay in homeless services is as limited as possible. Measures have been announced recently as part of the cold weather initiative, which should be acknowledged. One measure is the extension of services, particularly from the children and family homeless action team run by Focus Ireland, into homeless accommodation and into hotels, where it can be difficult to operate outreach services. The number of staff allocated to that outreach measure has been increased to 25 project workers. There is co-ordination with Tusla and the HSE to ensure that there is on-the-ground protection for families, particularly those families with children who are in homeless services. Work is also being done on Garda liaison with homeless services. It is important to acknowledge that good work is happening in these areas among a significant number of organisations, including household names such as the Peter McVerry Trust and Focus Ireland, and at local authority level.

There is no immediate answer to this crisis. We will not have the level of supply that will be required to adequately tackle the housing issue for the next three years. We need to act now to ensure that what can be done will be done. I believe that this legislation goes a very long way to ensure that, especially in regulating rent increases.

Photo of Sean BarrettSean Barrett (Independent)
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I welcome the Minister of State to the House. With regard to amendment No. 102, which the Minister of State, Senator Aideen Hayden and Senator Kathryn Reilly referred to, I believe that we must ask why this sector is way out of line with consumer price inflation. As legislators, we have to put the pressure back on the appropriate party. At the banking inquiry, we asked Michael O'Flynn, a leading developer who appeared as a witness, what happened here. We made the point that we used to be able to have housing provided for two and a half times a person's income, but then the multiple went as high as 12. Sixty or so developers emptied out the banks, and then they emptied out the Exchequer. I am not too sure that relying on these developers and financial institutions can solve this problem. The onus must be put right back on them. There is a small calculation by Shelter, the UK housing charity, which shows that if the price of a chicken had been index-linked to the price of houses since the post-war period, a chicken would now cost well over £50. Why are builders not as efficient as chicken farmers or the producers of any other product that we consume? This question must be asked, and the economist Ronan Lyons has constantly asked it. He said that at their present cost levels the prices of houses have to go up again, because our high-cost builders cannot afford to build at the kind of prices that the rest of society can afford. There is the whole legacy of builders buying up expensive sites in London, Chicago or wherever - and in Dublin as well - and the huge tradition of cost overruns, which has been investigated by the Comptroller and Auditor General and the Committee of Public Accounts.

In that context, the Minister of State will see on the Order Paper for the Seanad the National Mortgage and Housing Corporation Bill 2015, which we tabled last week. The object was to allow the State to use its powers to borrow at low cost and to leverage the production of housing - without the kind of shenanigans that the Irish housing construction sector has seen heretofore, with the dire consequences we all know of - at average and below-average prices to try to deal with the problem of homelessness. We drew the short straw when it went onto the Order Paper, as there was no Minister available from either the Department of the Environment, Community or Local Government or the Department of Finance, so we had three Ministers in the House from different Departments. The item was put forward on the basis that we need new financial institutions and a new construction industry. For starters - this is linked to amendment No. 102 - we should not countenance a situation in which house prices rise to large multiples of earnings and by maxi-multiples of prices elsewhere in the economy. What is wrong with this sector that renders it unable to do what it was able to do five, six or seven decades ago - to produce living accommodation for two and a half times average incomes? It is worthwhile keeping on the agenda the fact that we have had far too many scandals in relation to the construction industry and the bribing of politicians. The sector now has to deliver to the people of this country solutions to homelessness and rapidly rising rents and to conform in some way with the consumer price index. The goal, which the Minister of State has himself referred to, is to leave the construction industry in no doubt as to what we want to happen, and also to leave the financial sector in no doubt as to what we want to happen.

I regret, in the mad financial sphere, that building societies were abolished. They operated as mutual benefit societies. As pointed out by Ms Eithne Tinney, a witness at the banking inquiry, the point of the Educational Building Society was that established teachers who had some money to spare would help the next generation of teachers with housing. We need to get back to that. If credit unions or other bodies can play a role, that is desirable. As Mr. Ronan Lyons repeatedly points out, inflation has gone in the rest of the economy but it is rampant in housing. The rest of us must ask that the sector pull its socks up and deliver some kind of performance so that we can deal with homelessness and house people without extended mortgages of 30 and 40 years. I thank the Minister of State for his forbearance.

Photo of Paul BradfordPaul Bradford (Renua Ireland)
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I welcome the Minister of State and I apologise for missing his initial presentation of the amendments. I have heard him make the case in this regard previously. I agree with Senator Sean Barrett's comments on the broader scope of the industry and on the problems affecting so many families who are on various housing waiting lists. I recall asking the question of the Minister of State in this House some months ago, whether he had responsibility for housing or for the construction sector, and I was happy with his response at the time. I recoiled with horror when, upon the Minister of State's appointment, I read a construction industry magazine pronouncement.It was glad that it had what it called its "own" Minister again.

I stress that what we need is for the Minister of State to be the Minister for housing, people in need of housing and the building of homes for families, rather than a Minister providing for the construction sector. Senator Barrett has spoken about this issue on many previous occasions. Something has gone absolutely, profoundly, deeply and morally wrong with the construction industry in this country. There was a time when builders built houses, but builders seem to have been replaced with developers. Developers and bankers played a not insignificant role in the near ruination of this country. It appears that there are people who believe that the past few pages of the history script can be torn up and that we can move back to business as usual. There is still a fear, which I share, but perhaps the Minister of State can dissuade me, that housing policy is still being led and set by the construction industry. I look forward to the Minister of State's observations on that.

When the multiplier effect of the cost of homes and houses relative to family incomes continues to increase, we have to accept that things have gone very wrong and we have to attempt to reinvent the wheel. If the recovery in our country, society and economy simply means that we go back to where we were in 2007 and 2008, then it is a question of shame on all of us. We must not attempt to return to the construction industry position as it existed in the midst of the so-called Celtic tiger. That led to disaster on this island for Irish people and we need a new model of housing policy. As a society we have to rethink our view on housing and the amendments on tenancy, rent increases and all of that are important. We could debate them at length, but until such time as we put a housing policy and philosophy in place, changing the current model, such as not seeing a housing estate as a weekly lottery win for a developer but rather as a place where families and communities live and thrive, we are going down the wrong road.

Long after the passage of the Bill, it is important that we fundamentally review the Irish philosophy and approach to doing business vis-à-vishousing. We pride ourselves on home ownership, yet we and Britain stand alone and almost isolated in Europe regarding how we look at home ownership and how we view the rental market and long-term leasing in a very negative light. In the Minister of State's broader approach to housing, it will be very important that he tries to change that equation because what we have previously done has not worked. I support the words of caution on the setting of policy by construction moguls, as outlined by Senator Barrett.

I refer to the series of amendments before us. Much of the talk following the protracted and relatively phoney war between various Ministers related to rent certainty. The Minister of State cannot be blamed for the hand of cards he was dealt and is presenting the Bill before us today. No matter what side of the House one occupies, one has to try to be fair and reasonable. The Bill is possibly as good a stab at a short-term sticking plaster solution as is possible.

However, in advance of the passage of the new rules, regulations and legislation, we have already seen rent increases, certainty will have a very small "c" and capacity still exists in the crucial short-term period for significant increases to occur. That is quite understandable because of the main problem, namely, supply. Where there is a demand and supply imbalance, the person with the supply holds the aces. We should not be surprised that this Bill cannot, by way of a magic wand, solve the issue of rent certainty.

It is funny how in Irish politics phrases we had never used before take on a new currency. If one had spoken about rent certainty 12 months ago, people would have looked at one as if one had two heads, but now everybody is talking about it. We need to talk about housing certainty and put it on the agenda. I and others have suggested that we at least reflect on the concept of a constitutional entitlement to housing - that does not mean a constitutional entitlement for everybody to live in a mansion. The Constitutional Convention sat at some length a few years ago and brought forward many recommendations and spent many a lengthy Saturday in the Grand Hotel in Malahide proposing ways to improve and enhance society.

Elected politicians should be setting the agenda. I would like us to contemplate matters such as a constitutional provision for housing. If such a provision was enshrined in our Constitution by the Irish people, the hand which politicians, Government and the State would be allowed to play would ensure negotiations with developers would be very different - they would not go against them - and would be rebalanced in favour of citizens and communities.

I thank the Leas-Cathaoirleach for his latitude. I apologise to the Minister of State for being relatively aggressive, by my own standards, on this matter but we have to learn from the Ireland of the past decade. When people refer to the restoration of pay, society or the political system, we have to ask ourselves whether we are suggesting that we should try to restore this country to the politics, economics and imbalances of 2005, 2006, 2007 or 2008. That would be a shocking legacy for which to plan. Our housing policy must be entirely new in its scope, breadth and vision, and housing certainty must mean that every citizen has a fair opportunity to have a home or family home of his or her reasonable choosing, be it purchased or provided by way of suitable long-term rent.

New models must be considered. My party has suggested a major programme of social and community housing funded by public-private partnerships and pension funds. There are billions of euro in pension funds, most of which - I understand the figure is in excess of 90% - is invested overseas. It should not be beyond the scope of Governments, politicians and public servants to devise a scheme whereby people who have a lot of money to invest would be allowed to invest it at a reasonable return of 5% or 6% in a housing fund or programme which could provide long-term accommodation for tens of thousands of people.

When all is said and done, housing is the great leveller. It is a valid argument that education is the great leveller, but if children or parents are not sure where they live or do not have certainty of accommodation or housing, education is very much down the list of their concerns. If as a society we want to offer opportunities and whatever equality we can - we can get carried away with the term "equality" in debates at times - housing must go to the very core of that because the people who tonight are worried that they will lose their homes tomorrow, next week or next month and those on endless housing lists are not able to plan for the future or provide for their children. It can be done.

When I joined Cork County Council in 1985 it was in the midst of another great period of recession. It was a deeply dreary time economically and politically. I can only speak for my membership of the council, but the northern committee of the council covered a territory of 60,000 or 70,000 people. The local authority built 140,000 or 150,000 houses per annum in just one small section of County Cork.That was at a time when we were in deep recession. There was no money, yet housing was seen as a fundamental priority. Now between local authority housing, public private partnerships and the housing associations, all of which have worked quite well, we can surely come up with a solution. The Minister of State, his colleagues, and all of us must be driving that solution for the housing of people and the provision of homes. It is not the philosophy of the Construction Industry Federation that the Minister of State has to take on board; it is the arguments he hears in his constituency office, in his constituency and from all of us. I regret that I am not as knowledgeable on this piece of legislation as I should be. I am sure it will be a help, but it is a very small step while there is still a supply imbalance. The supply imbalance will only be dealt with by very different and radical thinking. It is a debate for the weeks and months ahead. Until we have housing certainty, issues such as rent certainty are a drop in the ocean. I wish the Minister of State well with the longer term project, but our thinking has to be much bigger and different. As a starting point, there can be no going back to the policies of the Celtic tiger era, which have left too many wounded people in mortgage arrears, on housing lists and with shattered lives. We have a shattered economy as a result of it as well.

Photo of Denis O'DonovanDenis O'Donovan (Fianna Fail)
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I thank the Senator. I have been over-indulgent. I do not want to subject the Minister of State to a series of Second Stage speeches. Others have spoken for nearly as long as Senator Bradford, who was dealing with one particular amendment. I remind Members that there are more than 102 amendments and if we allow speeches of this sort we will certainly not have it sorted out before Christmas. There is a hurry with it. I promise the Minister of State that when the next amendments come up I will be much stricter and ask people to stick to the point and not wander off into general housing policy. As I said, when I give one a break, I have to give them all a break, but I am dropping the guillotine now on Second Stage speeches. I apologise to the Minister of State.

Photo of Paudie CoffeyPaudie Coffey (Waterford, Fine Gael)
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I appreciate Senators' views. This is probably the most topical issue in the country at this particular time. I welcome Senators' views and opinions on the whole housing debate. I acknowledge that there is an opportunity now on the floor of the Seanad to express those views. The debate on the first group of amendments has been very wide-ranging, covering everything including rent, supply, the current state of the construction sector, the economics of the construction sector and much of the detail that surrounds that.

The Government is attempting to normalise the construction sector by making provisions and introducing measures and interventions where necessary so that the supply of houses can return to a normal and sustainable level. It is a dual approach which will be achieved through the tenancies provisions in this legislation, through the supply provisions, some of which will be introduced in the Finance Bill, and by other measures in terms of planning legislation. Whilst housing may seem simple in terms of putting a roof over people's heads, it is a very complex area that is open to very many variable factors in terms of economics, construction, tenancies and regulation right across the board. There is no simple intervention. The Government has looked at all areas to see what measures it can introduce to have a positive impact on sustaining tenancies and increasing the supply of houses, which I think is the objective that we all share.

Recently, I attended a meeting with ministerial colleagues from the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland and they are experiencing the very same problems that we are experiencing here in Ireland. I can say that clearly. We are sharing information because they are looking at some of the interventions we are making to see how they could introduce them in their jurisdictions, and we are also looking at what they are doing. That is the way it should be in terms of how we address the challenge that we are currently facing.

I will address some of the issues that Senators raised on the amendments. I acknowledge Senator van Turnhout's specific concerns around children at risk and the issue of emergency accommodation and the protections that are placed around that. Senator Hayden also raised this issue. Tusla sits on the Cabinet sub-committee on housing and has an input into that. The Senator is rightly concerned about it. That is why Government is prioritising emergency accommodation and getting people out of that situation into more sustainable accommodation provided by local authorities or approved housing bodies. The Senator had a number of detailed questions which I am happy to clarify for her if she corresponds with me. I will arrange to do that. She is right to raise the issue of emergency accommodation on the floor of the Seanad tonight. We are addressing that through a number of measures. First and foremost is the Bill before us, the purpose of which is to enhance sustainment of tenancies in houses, because the best way to provide a home for a person or family is to keep them in the home that they are currently in. As Senator Hayden has already done, I acknowledge the role of Threshold, the Dublin homeless executive and other local authorities in their particular regions for the manner in which they are engaging with families and individuals to keep them in their own homes. It has been made clear, and I want to make it clear again here on the floor of the Seanad, that tenants have rights in current law. We will enhance those rights in terms of notice periods and other interventions with the amendments we are making in the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill. Tenants have rights, and no tenant should be asked to vacate a home or be evicted from a home without receiving appropriate advice from people who can provide it - namely, the local authorities, Threshold and other agencies. I encourage any public representative, if presented with the case of a person under threat of homelessness, to engage in a proactive way with Threshold or the local authorities, who can advise them best.

I heard the calls in the Seanad today for increasing the cap on rent supplement. There are thousands of cases. The Government has concerns about increasing rent supplement because we feel it could lead to rent inflation and is just the market chasing itself. That is a cause of concern. Thousands of cases have been resolved by the Department of Social Protection on a case-by-case basis whereby rent supplement has been increased to keep people in their homes. That is happening right around the country as we speak, and it will continue to happen. They are the short-term measures to enhance and enforce tenancy rights to keep people in their own homes.

Through the social housing strategy and Construction 2020 we will increase supply. As Senators have quite rightly identified, supply is the nub of the problem. We do not have an adequate number of appropriate housing units where they are needed in this country. We are focusing Government resources on establishing the quickest way to turn around, enhance and increase the number of units available for people who most need them. There is good news in this area. Before the social housing strategy, the number of vacant houses, or voids, around this country in all local authorities was far too high. That was for various reasons. Councils will say they do not have the resources to do them up and turn them around and that they do not have the manpower. More than 300 additional staff have been allocated to local authorities right around the country to deal with housing and planning issues. That is essentially to deal with the housing crunch that we are experiencing at present. In 2014, more than 2,000 voids were turned around and put back into beneficial use by local authorities. In 2015, we expect it to be more than 2,500. That is a substantial improvement on the situation in which we had existing stock lying vacant in local authorities' hands that was not being used. Between 2014 and 2015, almost 5,000 of those units will be put back into use. In addition to that, we will continue to fund local authorities that present proposals to us to turn those voids around. It is the quickest way of turning existing assets and stock back into use for those on the housing list. We are also approving many acquisitions for local authorities and approved housing bodies where there is value for money and where they can buy houses from the market and utilise those. In Dublin alone, more than 50% of those allocations are being used for homeless families.Senator Hayden correctly identified that more than 739 people or families have been exited from homelessness over the past year by the Dublin Region Homeless Executive. This is progress, but the problem is the pressure continues on the other side of the equation. This is why we must address the supply measures in as many innovative ways as possible, including getting social housing programmes up and running in local authorities and enhancing the roles of the approved housing bodies, which can access off-balance sheet funds and provide housing. The provision of modular homes is a short to medium-term measure, whereby we will provide 500 modular homes within the next six or seven months in the Dublin area to address emergency accommodation. We have provided a supported unit for families to move them out of hotels in Tallaght, which will provide supported homes for more than 70 families.

Much work is being done, and this should be acknowledged, but I am under no illusions that much more needs to be done. The legislation we are debating has the capability to bring stability to the rental market, which will sustain tenancies for a period of up to four years as it has a sunset clause. Senators have asked why we have dysfunctional property and construction sectors. It should be no surprise because we had an overinflated dependence on the property sector in recent years, which contributed to the economic bust we have seen. It has left consequences and a legacy which we are finding very difficult to deal with. We can see this legacy everywhere, with builders who have gone bust, left the trade and are no longer building, people who went bust because inflated property prices meant they were over indebted to banks, and the banks which eventually went bust. Economists such as Senator Barrett know only too well why this happened.

In the current economic climate, as we see recovery happening, unfortunately the construction sector is the last to recover. We are beginning to see it recover gradually. The number of planning permissions is beginning to increase but there are still challenges. Senator Bradford asked whether I have responsibility for housing or for construction. I am a Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government, and I am doing my utmost with my colleagues in government, including the Minister, Deputy Kelly, to bring the construction sector back to a sustainable normalised level.

We need to learn from the past. Senator Bradford was a member of Cork County Council and he knows only too well we had far too much overzoning in places where it was unnecessary. We had more than 3,000 unfinished housing estates a short number of years ago. The good news is many of them have been resolved due to Government interventions, such as the special resolution fund. The number of unfinished estates throughout the country has been reduced to fewer than 600. Further progress will be made on these. The market is beginning to resolve some of this also. Many of them will never recover because they were built in places where there is no demand. One may ask quite rightly what the Government has done and whether we will return to the same cycle. I argue and contend we will not, because we now have the Housing Agency which is independent of the Government. Its role is to analyse the demographics of the country to see where the demand is, what type of housing is required to meet this demand and consider where it is needed. Its information and the recommendations it makes are used by the Government to inform policy and to inform where we will invest in infrastructure and prioritise investment so the supply and demand equation is better matched than what we have seen. This is only right.

We will also introduce measures such as those in the Urban Regeneration and Housing Act, which we passed last July, to incentivise and encourage investment in house building in the centres of towns and cities. This is to move away from the sprawling housing we saw in the past in out of town locations, where large-scale infrastructure and costly investment is needed. We state it should be invested in town and city centres, where we already have infrastructure and services. We are legislating to incentivise it, and we will bring further legislation forward in forthcoming planning Bills to try to increase the supply of housing. This may attract some criticism from some quarters because we want to increase the number of units available in cities and we will make interventions with regard to the standard of apartments because we feel some of them are over-onerous with regard to the cost of delivery, for example, there may be requirements for dual aspect, lift shafts or car parks. We believe there is scope and availability for legislating to allow for less onerous design concepts for apartments. They can provide homes and units which are badly needed and we need to see progress on this.

Senator Reilly asked why there is no link with the consumer price index. The Government took account of all views on this and we feel what we have brought forward is a form of stability, with a sunset clause. The DKM report and other reports and economists state if one directly intervenes in the market through rent control one will deter investment, and investment is what we require if we are to see more building and housing supplied. For these reasons we will not accept the Sinn Féin amendment. The key point is to extend the period between rent reviews to 24 months, so the fundamental rent setting principle of the 2004 Act is not replaced but tenants benefit from 24 months of certainty.

I have tried to address many of the issues which have been raised. I acknowledge Senator Zappone who, in general, welcomed some of the provisions introduced as being more or less balanced. She stated they were fair but not punitive, which I welcome. She asked about the increase in the number of days' notice from 28 to 90. The question is whether one can serve a notice of new rent before rent is reviewed. The answer is this cannot be done, because the notice must contain the amount of the new rent which can only be set pursuant to a review. I am happy to clarify this further for the Senator in writing.

The provisions in the Bill will go a long way to providing certainty in rent with regard to keeping and sustaining people in their homes over the coming years. The Bill includes sunset clauses because this is a short-term to medium-term intervention. We expect the property and construction sectors to recover as the economy recovers, and with this we expect to see increased supply and the dysfunction to leave the market. As Senator Bradford and others have said, what we need to see in this country is demand being matched with supply. There needs to be an appropriate match with regard to the type of housing unit and where they are required.

I feel quite strongly about creating mobility in the market again. Unfortunately, the economic circumstances which have pertained in recent years have meant we have not seen much mobility in the market. People who have reared their families are living in houses with capacity. We need to see much more accommodation for elderly people as the population grows older. This would allow mobility, as people could move into supported care homes and settings and retain their independence. This is why the Government is investing substantially in capital assistance programmes, whereby we provide homes for the elderly throughout the country so people can have supported independent homes. I hope in time this, in turn, will see the provision of existing family homes, which are probably underused at present, becoming available. Many factors feed into the housing and economic situation we have at present. The Government feels the Bill is a balanced and pragmatic approach, particularly to address rental issues and to sustain tenancies. In the short term we will introduce other measures in the Finance Bill which will assist with regard to supply. It is certainly not to support the construction sector in any way, but to support the citizens of the country who require homes. This is a shared objective of us all.

Amendment agreed to.

Section 1, as amended, agreed to.

Section 2 agreed to.

SECTION 3

Photo of Denis O'DonovanDenis O'Donovan (Fianna Fail)
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Amendment No. 3 has been ruled out of order as it involves a potential charge to the Exchequer.

Amendment No. 3 not moved.

Photo of Denis O'DonovanDenis O'Donovan (Fianna Fail)
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Amendments Nos. 4, 6, 8 to 11, inclusive, 18, 19, 21, 22 and 98 are related and may be discussed together by agreement. Is that agreed? Agreed.

Government amendment No. 4:

Photo of Paudie CoffeyPaudie Coffey (Waterford, Fine Gael)
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The purpose of these amendments is to clarify the relationship between local authorities and the approved housing bodies, AHBs, where dwellings are let by local authorities to AHBs and subsequently let by those bodies to social housing tenants. These provisions were included in the published Bill but amendments Nos. 4, 6, 8 and 9 redraft those provisions to make it clear that for the purposes of the application of the Residential Tenancies Act to dwellings let by the AHBs, the Residential Tenancies Act does not apply to the tenancy between the local authority and the AHB. The Residential Tenancies Act does apply to the tenancy between the AHB and the social housing tenant. This makes it clear that all the rights and obligations under the Residential Tenancies Act apply to the tenancy between the AHB and its tenant.

Amendment No. 6 clarifies that the relationship between the approved housing body and its tenant is that of landlord and tenant and is not a sub-tenancy.

Amendment No. 21 is a technical amendment to the definition of approved housing body to provide for this relationship. Amendment No. 98 is a consequential amendment to section 65 of the published Bill.

Amendments Nos. 10, 11, 18 and 19 are drafting amendments and correct errors in the published Bill. Amendment No. 22 is a consequential amendment on that as well.

Amendment agreed to.

Photo of Denis O'DonovanDenis O'Donovan (Fianna Fail)
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Amendment No. 5 has been ruled out of order as it involves a potential charge to the Exchequer.

Amendment No. 5 not moved.

Government amendment No. 6:

Amendment agreed to.

Photo of Denis O'DonovanDenis O'Donovan (Fianna Fail)
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Amendment No. 7 has been ruled out of order as it involves a potential charge to the Exchequer.

Amendment No. 7 not moved.

Government amendment No. 8:

Amendment agreed.

Government amendment No. 9:

Amendment agreed to.

Government amendment No. 10:

Amendment agreed to.

Government amendment No. 11:

Amendment agreed to.

Section 3, as amended, agreed to.

SECTION 4

Photo of Denis O'DonovanDenis O'Donovan (Fianna Fail)
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Amendments Nos. 12 to 15, inclusive, 23 to 25, inclusive, 28 and 29 are related and may be discussed together by agreement. Is that agreed? Agreed.

Government amendment No. 12:

Photo of Paudie CoffeyPaudie Coffey (Waterford, Fine Gael)
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The published Bill provides that sections 19 to 22, inclusive, and 139 of the Residential Tenancies Act 2004 will not apply to approved housing body tenancies. Approved housing bodies generally use a differential rent scheme as applied by local authorities to determine the rents of their dwellings. Under this system the amount of rent to be paid by a tenant is based on the income of the household, and the provisions in the 2004 Act, including section 19 which deals with market rent, conflict with the scheme. As the differential rent scheme is more advantageous to approved housing body tenants than the provisions relating to rent in the 2004 Act, they are excluded from these sections. AHB rents for their social housing tenants are set when the AHB signs an agreement with the housing authority to house those tenants. Those agreements are made under section 6 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1992. Amendment No. 23 inserts a new section 19A into the principal Act to clarify how AHB rents are determined. Amendment No. 24 inserts a new section 20A into the principal Act which provides that any review of rent is determined under this agreement and that where no review of rent is provided for in the agreement, either party may request a review.

Amendments Nos. 12, 13 and 15 are technical drafting amendments. Amendment No. 14 is a consequential amendment on amendments Nos. 23 and 24. Amendment No. 25 provides for the notification of new rent to AHB tenants. Amendments Nos. 28 and 29 are consequential amendments.

Amendment agreed to.

Government amendment No. 13:

Amendment agreed to.

Government amendment No. 14:

Amendment agreed to.

Government amendment No. 15:

Amendment agreed to.

Photo of Denis O'DonovanDenis O'Donovan (Fianna Fail)
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Amendments Nos. 16, 17, 20 and 26 are related and may be discussed together by agreement. Is that agreed? Agreed.

Government amendment No. 16:

Photo of Paudie CoffeyPaudie Coffey (Waterford, Fine Gael)
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Amendments Nos. 16, 17, 20 and 26 are related. Under Part 4 of the 2004 Act, security of tenure is based on rolling four-year tenancy cycles. A landlord may not serve a notice of termination except in very clearly defined circumstances, such as a failure by the tenant to comply with his or her obligations in relation to the tenancy. As I am sure members are aware, many AHB tenants rely on the provision of care services and would be unable to live in their home without the provision of such care. The AHB sector had sought exemptions from Part 4 of the Act in order that it could terminate Part 4 tenancies if such supports or services were no longer available. The Bill as drafted therefore included a provision whereby an AHB, notwithstanding the provisions of Part 4 of the Act regarding security of tenure, could terminate a tenancy on the grounds that the dwelling is no longer suitable because the care services required by the tenant are no longer available. A number of concerns were raised on Committee Stage in the Dáil about this provision querying what would happen to the tenant when the tenancy was terminated and the possibility that these tenants could become homeless following the termination of their tenancies. Having considered the issues raised I believe it is not appropriate to terminate the tenancy for reasons that are not linked to the conduct of the tenant. As such, amendment No. 20 removes these termination grounds from the Bill and any issues arising in this area will instead be dealt with through consultation with the AHB and the tenant together with the relevant agencies with a view to finding the optimal solution for all concerned.

With regard to a transitional accommodation in some cases, such as short-term transitional accommodation for those learning to adjust to independent living, it makes sense to exempt these dwellings from the automatic right to a four-year tenancy after six months in occupation. For this reason amendments Nos. 17 and 26 provide that Part 4 of the Act, the right to a four-year tenancy, will not apply to this specific type of AHB accommodation However, all other rights and obligations under the Act will apply to these tenancies and AHBs will need the consent of the relevant local authority to designate the dwelling as transitional accommodation.

Amendment No. 16 is a technical drafting amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

Government amendment No. 17:

Amendment agreed to.

Government amendment No. 18:

Amendment agreed to.

Government amendment No. 19:

Amendment agreed to.

Government amendment No. 20:

Amendment agreed to.

Section 4, as amended, agreed to.

SECTION 5

Government amendment No. 21:

Amendment agreed to.

Government amendment No. 22:

Amendment agreed to.

Section 5, as amended, agreed to.

NEW SECTIONS

Government amendment No. 23:

Amendment agreed to.

Government amendment No. 24:

Amendment agreed to.

Government amendment No. 25:

Amendment agreed to.

Government amendment No. 26:

Amendment agreed to.

Photo of Kathryn ReillyKathryn Reilly (Sinn Fein)
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I move amendment No. 27:

In page 10, between lines 14 and 15, to insert the following:“6. Section 12 of the Principal Act is amended in subsection (1) by inserting the following:
“(i) provide that the dwelling shall have access to suitable and adequate pest and vermin proof refuse storage facilities, which shall be provided in such a manner so as not to be visible from the public street, or to cause nuisance, or to detract from the amenity of adjoining dwellings,

(j) ensure that waste is presented for collection in accordance with the Waste Management Act 1996 (as amended),

(k) upon registering the dwelling under section 134 of the Act, and on an annual basis thereafter, the landlord must submit to the Board a contract with an authorised waste collection agent, or any other details as the Boards consider necessary, to ensure compliance with the Waste Management Act 1996 (as amended).”.”.

It is essentially to ensure tenants are provided with space to deal responsibly and hygienically with refuse without attracting vermin. It would ensure refuse facilities could not be tampered with or used for dumping by passing members of the public. It sets out that a landlord must provide the PRTB with proof of a waste management contract.

Photo of Paudie CoffeyPaudie Coffey (Waterford, Fine Gael)
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The Government will not be accepting the amendment. Essentially, it means a landlord would be responsible for managing the waste of his tenants. Considering the fundamental polluter pays policy and the responsibilities that go with it, I see no reason to accept the amendment. Essentially, tenants are responsible for their waste.

I acknowledge the part of the amendment that refers to the provision of adequate storage facilities for refuse. The most appropriate way to deal with this is through the planning process. Local authorities have a role to ensure facilities are appropriate to the demands of the development. We will not be accepting the amendment because individuals should be responsible for their own waste. The planning process should be the appropriate process for ensuring adequate facilities are provided in developments.

Photo of Kathryn ReillyKathryn Reilly (Sinn Fein)
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In light of what the Minister of State said, particularly on storage facilities and the planning process, I will not press the amendment this time.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Sections 6 and 7 agreed to.

NEW SECTION

Government amendment No. 28:

Amendment agreed to.

SECTION 8

Government amendment No. 29:

Amendment agreed to.

Section 8, as amended, agreed to.

Sections 9 and 10 agreed to.

SECTION 11

Photo of Denis O'DonovanDenis O'Donovan (Fianna Fail)
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Amendments Nos. 30, 32, 34 to 42, inclusive, and 44 to 49, inclusive, are related and may be discussed together, by agreement. Is that agreed? Agreed.

Government amendment No. 30:

Photo of Paudie CoffeyPaudie Coffey (Waterford, Fine Gael)
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The Bill provides for the registration fees that approved housing bodies will pay to register their tenancies with the PRTB and the timeframe within which tenancies must be registered. Where the tenancy is registered within the first year after the commencement of these provisions, the fee to be paid by approved housing bodies will be €45 for a single tenancy and €187.50 for multiple registrations. This is equal to half the registration fee currently paid by landlords in the private sector. The Bill further provides that the fee, after the first 12 months, is to be prescribed by the Minister. My predecessor, Deputy Jan O'Sullivan, indicated on Committee Stage in the Dáil that approved housing bodies will pay the same fee as private landlords after the initial discount period. That fee is currently €90 per tenancy. A similar power is given in the Bill to prescribe fees for late registration. Again, my predecessor indicated they would be the same as the fees charged to the private sector.

For the purpose of providing clarity and certainty to the approved housing bodies, I have decided it is appropriate to set these fees out in the primary legislation as they are set out for the private rental sector. As such, amendment No. 42 provides that the fee after the first 12 months will be €90. Amendment No. 44 provides the composite fee after the first 12 months will be €375. These are the same fees that are paid by the private sector.

The published Bill makes provision for a graduated a late fee. Under the 2004 Act, if a landlord is late in registering a tenancy, he must pay double the registration fee. However, the Bill provides for penalties for late registration on an ascending scale. There is a penalty of €20 for each month the landlord is late registering the tenancy.

Amendments Nos. 41 and 46 place a cap on the late fees that can be charged to a landlord in either the private or approved housing bodies sector of €240. Amendment No. 47 provides that the PRTB may increase or decrease approved housing body registration fees only in line with changes in the value of money. A similar provision applies to fees for the private sector. Amendment No. 49 provides that the PRTB may charge an administration fee for an application that is not made online. The published Bill provided that this fee was to be prescribed. Therefore, amendments Nos. 32 and 40 are consequential. Amendments Nos. 30, 35, 37, 38, 45 and 48 are consequential. Amendments Nos. 34, 36 and 39 are technical drafting amendments to correct an omission in the published Bill.

Amendment agreed to.

Photo of Kathryn ReillyKathryn Reilly (Sinn Fein)
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I move amendment No. 31:

In page 12, between lines 42 and 43, to insert the following:
“(iii) a tax clearance certificate from the Revenue Commissioners Office before renewal of registration is completed,

(iv) a certificate of approval of approved housing standards as agreed by the relevant local authority in accordance with current statutory regulations enacted by the Minister,”.

This amendment requires landlords to provide a tax clearance certificate and certificate of approved housing standards from the local authority on registering a tenancy. The rationale is that there is a lack of standards in much rental accommodation, particularly in Dublin where the local authority and Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland both found that more than 90% of flats in the inner city failed to meet basic standards.

Photo of Paudie CoffeyPaudie Coffey (Waterford, Fine Gael)
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While I appreciate the intention behind the amendment, I believe it is important we do not lose sight of the core functions of the PRTB. Its primary role is to register tenancies and resolve disputes between landlords and tenants. It is not the role of the PRTB to collect revenue; it is the role of the Revenue Commissioners to ensure citizens pay their tax.

However, the PRTB can take and has taken every opportunity to work with the Revenue Commissioners in this area and improve data exchange between the two bodies. In fact, following a recommendation from the Committee of Public Accounts, the 2004 Act was amended in 2009 to make express provision for the exchange of information between the PRTB and Revenue Commissioners. This allows the Revenue Commissioners access to the register of tenancies maintained by the PRTB in order to facilitate tax compliance checks by them. There is already a very proactive collaboration arrangement between the Revenue Commissioners and the PRTB. There is sharing of information, as is appropriate, so we will not be accepting the amendment.

Photo of Kathryn ReillyKathryn Reilly (Sinn Fein)
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I will not press the amendment this time but may consider resubmitting it on Report Stage.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Government amendment No. 32:

Amendment agreed to.

Photo of Pat O'NeillPat O'Neill (Fine Gael)
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Amendments Nos. 33, 51, 52, 65, 82, 84, 85 and 88 to 91, inclusive, are related. Amendments Nos. 93, 94 and 96 are related. Amendments Nos. 43 and 96 are logical alternatives to amendment No. 90. Amendments Nos. 33, 43, 51, 52, 65, 82, 84, 85, 88 to 91, inclusive, 93, 94 and 96 may be discussed together. Is that agreed? Agreed.

Government amendment No. 33:

Photo of Paudie CoffeyPaudie Coffey (Waterford, Fine Gael)
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The list of amendments referred to by the Acting Chairman shows the complexity of the Bill. Essentially, the section and the amendments deal with deposit protection, which has been called for by many Senators from all sides of the House for a long time. My amendments in the group concern putting in place the structural changes necessary to support the introduction of the deposit protection scheme. Amendment No. 87, which will be discussed later, will deal with the mechanics of how the scheme will operate. The amendments I am now introducing are some of the most significant measures to be introduced in the Bill.

The issue of the illegal retention of deposits is one that has negatively affected the private rental sector for many years. Senators, councillors, Deputies and all other public representatives have often raised concerns about this. Almost every Senator who spoke on the Bill during Second Stage supported the programme for Government commitment to establishing a tenancy deposit protection scheme. I acknowledge Senator Hayden, in particular, as she has worked tirelessly in support deposit protection for some considerable time. Her contribution on deposit protection measures has been of significant value and one to which I have listened carefully.

The unjustified withholding of tenants' deposits by a small number of rogue landlords is a matter we simply cannot tolerate. The establishment of the scheme will eliminate this practice and contribute to the ongoing regulation and development of rented housing as an attractive and long-term housing option. As such, I am pleased to introduce the following amendments. Amendment No. 51 amends section 12 of the principal Act to place an obligation on the landlord to transmit the deposit to the PRTB.An obligation is also placed on the landlord to respond to notifications of the board regarding the return of the deposit and to provide the board with an up-to-date contact details.

Amendment No. 84 provides that this is done at the time of registration and provides for a statement to be provided to the board where the tenant does not pay any deposit. The enforcement of this obligation is provided for by a new section 135B in the principal Act.

Amendment No. 85 provides that the amount of the deposit must be included in the registration application form. Amendment No. 52 places an obligation on tenants to provide the board with up-to-date contact details and to respond to notifications sent by the board. Amendment No. 65 is a transitional provision, consequential to the amendment to section 12, to provide for deposit-related disputes that have not been fully determined as the time of the commencement. Amendment No. 82 provides for the cancellation of the return of the deposit in circumstances where it is incorrectly returned by the PRTB.

With regard to accounting provisions, amendment No. 88 amends section 151 of the principal Act to provide that the retention of deposit is now a function of the board. Amendments Nos. 89 and 90 provide for the financial control of the deposit funds which must be kept in separate accounts and from which funds may only be withdrawn to return deposits or withdraw the interest.

Amendment No. 91 provides that the board must include information on the operation of the scheme in its annual report. There is a small error regarding the type of information that must be included in the annual report and I intend to deal with this matter on Report Stage.

Amendment No. 33 clarifies that approved housing bodies, where they take deposits, must also send them to the board at the time of registration.

With regard to the Opposition amendments tabled by Sinn Féin, namely, amendments Nos. 93, 94 and 96, I appreciate the intention behind the amendments and I fully appreciate and share the concerns that lie behind them. However, the amendments I have introduced have adequately provided for in the deposit protection scheme envisaged in these amendments and in view of this I would respectfully ask the Senator to withdraw the amendments.

With regard to amendment No. 43 tabled by Senator Mary White, the Government amendments provide for the establishment of a custodial deposit protection scheme. Where a deposit is involved the landlord must remit the deposit to the PRTB at the time of registration. There is no fee for a landlord or tenant and while I understand the motivation behind the Senator's amendment, it could and would promote the idea that it is permissible for a landlord to retain a tenant's deposit, something from which we are now moving away. It would also result in compliant landlords having to pay extra to effectively pay for the illegal activities of a very small number of non-compliant landlords. For these reasons, I cannot accept the amendment.

Photo of Kathryn ReillyKathryn Reilly (Sinn Fein)
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I think the Minister of State for his response. I will not press our amendments and will withdraw them in light of his comments. Our amendments were submitted before we knew the content of the Government amendments. The legal withholding of deposits is, as I said, a major issue and takes up a large proportion of the time of organisations like Threshold which advocates for tenants, as well as the PRTB which, as the Minister of State said, mediates in such circumstances.

Many tenants are not aware of their rights regarding deposits and the return and the withholding of a deposit from a tenant for an extended period of time is common and causes serious hardship for people who are trying to secure new places to live or cover the costs of moving. A relative of mine had a very difficult time with a landlord who took a deposit. Through mediation with the PRTB, it initiated legal proceedings and the landlord skipped the country. She never got her deposit back. The fact that this scheme will be implemented will go a long way to protect tenants and make sure they get their property back because deposits, as the PRTB has emphasised, are the property of tenants and not that of landlords. I welcome the insertion of this principle into the Bill and will not press our amendments.

Photo of Paudie CoffeyPaudie Coffey (Waterford, Fine Gael)
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I thank the Senator for withdrawing the amendments. The Government amendments are a significant part of the Bill and were commitments in the programme for Government. It is welcome that they are now being introduced. These measures will, in another way, aid tenancy sustainment. As public representatives we often hear that people are having difficulties getting their deposits back from one tenancy or landlords when they move to another and then find it difficult to acquire funds for deposits for other houses. These measures alone will address that particular problem and for those reasons it is to be welcomed.

Amendment agreed to.

Government amendment No. 34:

Amendment agreed to.

Government amendment No. 35:

Amendment agreed to.

Government amendment No. 36:

Amendment agreed to.

Government amendment No. 37:

Amendment agreed to.

Government amendment No. 38:

Amendment agreed to.

Government amendment No. 39:

Amendment agreed to.

Government amendment No. 40:

Amendment agreed to.

Section 11, as amended, agreed to.

SECTION 12

Government amendment No. 41:

Amendment agreed to.

Section 12, as amended, agreed to.

SECTION 13

Amendment agreed to.

Amendment No. 43 not moved.

Amendment agreed to.

Government amendment No. 45:

Amendment agreed to.

Government amendment No. 46:

Amendment agreed to.

Section 13, as amended, agreed to. NEW SECTION

Government amendment No. 47:

Amendment agreed to.

SECTION 14

Government amendment No. 48:

Amendment agreed to.

Section 14, as amended, agreed to.

NEW SECTIONS

Government amendment No. 49:

Amendment put agreed to.

Government amendment No. 50:

Photo of Paudie CoffeyPaudie Coffey (Waterford, Fine Gael)
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This is a technical amendment to the general regulation making power in section 8 of the Act to provide for incidental and supplementary provisions, where necessary.

Amendment agreed to.

Government amendment No. 51:

Amendment agreed to.

Government amendment No. 52:

Amendment agreed to.

Government amendment No. 53:

Amendment and agreed to.

Government amendment No. 54:

Amendment agreed to.

Photo of Pat O'NeillPat O'Neill (Fine Gael)
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Amendment Nos. 55 to 57, inclusive, and amendment No. 59 are related and may be discussed together. Is that agreed? Agreed.

Government amendment No. 55:

Photo of Paudie CoffeyPaudie Coffey (Waterford, Fine Gael)
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In summary, this group of amendments provides for changes to termination provisions and for improved security of tenure. Amendment No. 55 is a technical amendment which clarifies that when terminating a Part IV tenancy a landlord must comply with Parts IV and V of the Act. The 2004 Act specifies the grounds upon which the landlord may terminate a tenancy. A landlord may not serve a notice of termination on a tenant, except in very clearly defined circumstances, such as a failure by the tenant to comply with his or her obligations regarding the tenancy, where the landlord intends to sell the property within three months after the termination of the tenancy or where the landlord requires a dwelling for his or her own occupation or that of a family member.

Amendments Nos. 56 and 57 will strengthen the protections around tenancy terminations by providing for measures that will guard against, for example, landlords fasley declaring that the property is needed for a family member or that it is going to be sold. These measures involve, inter alia, a landlord having to explain in a written statement to the tenant why a property might not be suitable for his or her accommodation needs, having regard to the number of bed spaces and the size and composition of the household, a landlord having to make a statutory declaration as to his or her intention to sell a property, a landlord having to make a statutory declaration that the property is needed for his or her occupation or that of a family member and a landlord providing a copy of planning permission obtained, where relevant. Under section 66 of the current legislation, the period of notice of termination increases according to the length of the tenancy. A landlord must give a tenant a minimum of 28 days' notice for tenancies of less than six months' duration and up to a maximum of 112 days' notice for tenancies of four years or more. A tenant must give a landlord a minimum of 28 days' notice for tenancies of less than six months' duration up to a maximum of 56 days' notice for tenancies of two years or more.

Amendment No. 59 introduces further graduated increases in the notice period in order that a landlord will have to give a tenant up to a maximum of 224 days' notice for tenancies of eight years or more. In particular, for tenancies of five years or more but less than six years it requires 140 days' notice, for six years or more but less than seven years it requires 168 days' notice, for seven years or more but less than eight years it requires 196 days' notice, and for eight years or more 224 days' notice is required. This will give tenants who have lived in rented accommodation for long periods sufficient time to source alternative accommodation. It is consistent with a recommendation in the DKM Economic Consultants report, Future of the Private Rental Sector, which was commissioned by the Private Residential Tenancies Board. Meanwhile, a tenant will have to give a landlord up to a maximum of 112 days' notice for tenancies of eight years or more. In particular, a tenancy of four years or more but less than eight years will require 84 days' notice, while for eight years or more 112 days' notice will be required.

Amendment agreed to.

Section 15 deleted.

NEW SECTION

Government amendment No. 56:

Amendment agreed to.

Section 16 deleted.

NEW SECTIONS

Government amendment No. 57:

Amendment agreed to.

Photo of Pat O'NeillPat O'Neill (Fine Gael)
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Amendments Nos. 58, 60, 62, 63, 66 to 70, inclusive, 72 to 78, inclusive, 80, 81, 92, 105 and 106 are related and may be discussed together by agreement.

Government amendment 58:

Photo of Paudie CoffeyPaudie Coffey (Waterford, Fine Gael)
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I acknowledge this is a substantial group of amendments. All of these measures are enforcement related measures. The group of amendments includes a number of measures to enable the PRTB to deal effectively with tenants who do not comply with their obligations, including the obligation to pay rent. The published Bill provides for a new procedure to deal with tenants who do not comply with the statutory obligation to pay rent pending the determination of the dispute.

These amendments insert a new section 76A into the 2004 Act which will provide that where there is a dispute before the board and the tenant does not pay the rent, the landlord may bring a complaint before the PRTB. On the hearing of this complaint, the PRTB can order the tenant to pay any rent due. The published Bill provides that the matter will then be adjourned for a period of no more than 14 days to allow the tenant to comply with this order. It also provides that where the tenant does not comply, the PRTB will have the power to terminate the tenancy irrespective of whether a notice of termination has been served.

Significant concerns regarding the power of the PRTB to terminate the tenancy at 14 days' notice were expressed during Committee Stage in the Dáil and on foot of subsequent legal advice. These amendments remove this termination provision from the procedure. However, the interim procedure to compel a tenant to pay the rent remains part of the Bill and is provided for by means of the insertion of the new section 76A into the principal Act. The provision is being included in the Bill. This is provided for by means of amendments Nos. 62 and 63, with consequential amendments including amendments Nos. 66 to 70, inclusive, and amendments Nos. 77, 78, 105 and 106.

Amendments Nos. 72 to 76, inclusive, and amendment No. 79 are technical drafting amendments.

Amendment No. 92 provides that the board must report to the Minister on the operation of the new section 76A six months after its commencement and each year thereafter in its annual report. This procedure, together with amendments Nos. 58, 80 and 81, will provide for a fast and effective way for the PRTB to deal with that small minority of tenants who do not pay the rent.

In addition to the section 76A procedures, amendment No. 58 is designed to address an issue that has been a cause of concern to landlords in particular. It has been the case that a minor error in a notice of termination has caused an entire case to fall at the last hurdle, regardless of the merits of the case and sometimes after months of processing and hearings. This is something we must address. This situation is being remedied by amendment No. 58 to the effect that a minor error or defect that is not prejudicial to the tenant in a notice of termination would not invalidate the notice.

Section 124 of the Residential Tenancies Act provides for the enforcement of PRTB determination orders in the Circuit Court. The PRTB endeavours to enforce as many of its orders as possible. However, Circuit Court sittings are limited throughout the country and in many cases there are significant waiting lists. Therefore, amendments Nos 80 and 81 will amend the Act in order that in future the PRTB determination orders can be enforced in the District Court rather than the Circuit Court. This will considerably reduce the expense of enforcing a determination order. It should also provide for faster hearings as there are more sittings of the District Court than the Circuit Court.

Amendment No. 60 clarifies that the notice period for the termination of a tenancy for non-payment of rent is 28 days. I recommend the amendments.

Amendment agreed to.

Government amendment No. 59:

In page 16, after line 42, to insert the following:

“Amendment of section 66 of Principal Act

19. (1) Section 66 of the Principal Act is amended—

(a) by substituting the following Table for Table 1:“TABLE 1Termination by Landlord Duration of Tenancy (1) Notice Period (2) Less than 6 months 28 days 6 or more months but less than 1 year 35 days 1 year or more but less than 2 years 42 days 2 years or more but less than 3 years 56 days 3 years or more but less than 4 years 84 days 4 years or more but less than 5 years 112 days 5 years or more but less than 6 years 140 days 6 years or more but less than 7 years 168 days 7 years or more but less than 8 years 196 days 8 or more years 224 days ”,

and

(b) by substituting the following Table for Table 2:“TABLE 2Termination by Tenant Duration of Tenancy (1) Notice Period (2) Less than 6 months 28 days 6 or more months but less than 1 year 35 days 1 year or more but less than 2 years 42 days 2 years or more but less than 4 years 56 days 4 years or more but less than 8 years 84 days 8 or more years 112 days ”.

(2) Where, immediately before the coming into operation of subsection (1), a period of notice was specified in a notice of termination in respect of a tenancy to which section 66 of the Principal Act applies but that period had not expired, notwithstanding the amendments to section 66 of the Principal Act made by subsection (1), the periods of notice specified in the Tables to that section before those amendments were made shall continue to apply in respect of the notice of termination concerned as if those amendments had not been made.”.

Amendment agreed to.

Government amendment No. 60:

Amendment agreed to.

Section 17 deleted.

SECTION 18

Photo of Pat O'NeillPat O'Neill (Fine Gael)
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Amendments Nos. 61, 71 and 79 are technical drafting amendments and may be discussed together by agreement.

Government amendment No. 61:

Photo of Paudie CoffeyPaudie Coffey (Waterford, Fine Gael)
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These are technical drafting amendments to correct minor errors in the published Bill.

Amendment agreed to.

Section 18, as amended, agreed to.

NEW SECTIONS

Government amendment No. 62:

Amendment agreed to.

Government amendment No. 63:

Amendment agreed to.

Government amendment No. 64:

Photo of Paudie CoffeyPaudie Coffey (Waterford, Fine Gael)
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This amendment relates to anti-social behaviour. The Residential Tenancies Act prohibits a tenant in a private residential tenancy from engaging in anti-social behaviour in or, in the vicinity of, a dwelling to which the Act applies. It also provides that a landlord may terminate any tenancy where the tenant is engaging in or allowing others to engage in such behaviour.

Section 77 of the 2004 Act provides that a third party affected by anti-social behaviour may take a case to the PRTB against a landlord who has failed to enforce a tenant's obligation not to engage in anti-social behaviour. Under the current legislation, the third-party complainant must contact the landlord and tenant to try to resolve the issue before referring the complaint to the PRTB. This can often be difficult in situations in which the complainant is intimidated by the tenant concerned. Therefore, amendment No. 64 provides that a third-party complainant may refer a complaint to the PRTB if he has attempted to resolve the matter by communicating with the landlord. The amendment also provides that an owner's management company, a residents' association or a neighbourhood watch scheme may bring a third-party complaint to the PRTB.

The amendment is long overdue. Many public representatives, including Senators, Deputies and councillors, have often seen at first hand the consequences of anti-social behaviour on estates, in respect of which, unfortunately, the legislation has not been strong enough for third parties to make complaints or for intervention to materialise to deal with anti-social behaviour. I expect this Government amendment will be welcomed because it represents a strong move in terms of dealing with unacceptable anti-social behaviour in private rented accommodation throughout the country.

Photo of Denis LandyDenis Landy (Labour)
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I commend the Minister of State on ensuring that this amendment was tabled. No more than the Minister of State, I served at local authority level over many years.

Snippet Ref No: PP00100 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet | Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - No] We saw frustration with this particular issue, whereby if a house was in private ownership but rented through the housing assistance payment the local authority could do nothing about it. I sat at many local authority meetings listening to discussions on this issue. The amendment is proof the Minister of State is listening and, as a former member of the local authority, he understands the issues. I commend the amendment and I hope it will be accepted by all sides of the House.Snippet Ref No: PP00200 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet | Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] Question put and agreed to.Snippet Ref No: PP00300 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet | Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] NEW SECTIONSSnippet Ref No: PP00400 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet | Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] Government amendment No. 65:In page 17, between lines 17 and 18, to insert the following:"Amendment of section 78 of Principal Act22. (1) Section 78 of the Principal Act is amended in subsection (1)—(a) by substituting “where appropriate, and without prejudice to section 76A, complaints” for “where appropriate, complaints”, and(b) by substituting the following paragraphs for paragraph (a):"(a) without prejudice to the generality of paragraph (e), failure by a landlord to transmit the deposit to the Board under section 12(1)(d)(i),(aa) failure by—(i) a landlord to comply with section 12(1)(d)(ii)(III), or(ii) a tenant to comply with section 16(o)(iii),(ab) the return of the deposit to one or both parties,(ac) failure by a party to the tenancy to comply with sections 148A, 148F(2) or 148I(3),(ad) any loss referred to in section 148I(6),”.(2) Where, on or before the coming into operation of subsection (1), a dispute referred to in paragraph (a) of section 78(1) of the Principal Act had been commenced but had not been finally determined in accordance with the Principal Act, the dispute shall be determined in accordance with that Act as if that paragraph had not been amended by subsection (1) and for the purposes of that dispute—(a) paragraph (d) of section 12(1) of the Principal Act shall apply in relation to that dispute as if that paragraph had not been amended by section 16, and(b) subsection (4) of section 12 of the Principal Act shall apply in respect of the return or repayment of that deposit as if that subsection had not been amended by section 16.(3) Where on or before the coming into operation of subsection (1) and section 16, a tenancy had ended and the deposit had not been returned to the tenant (whether the landlord was relying on section 12(4) of the Principal Act or otherwise) and a dispute referred to in paragraph (a) of section 78(1) of the Principal Act had not been referred to the Board for resolution—(a) paragraph (d) of section 12(1) of the Principal Act shall apply to the landlord as if that paragraph had not been amended by section 16,(b) subsection (4) of section 12 of the Principal Act shall apply in respect of the return of that deposit as if that subsection had not been amended by section 16,and(c) where a dispute on the retention or refund of the deposit arises, either party may refer the dispute to the Board under paragraph (a) of section 78(1) of the Principal Act as if paragraph (a) of that section had not been amended by subsection (1) and the dispute shall be determined as if that paragraph had not been amended by subsection (1).(4) Where, on or before the coming into operation of subsection (1) and section 16, a notice of termination had been served in respect of a tenancy and a deposit had been paid to the landlord and had not been returned to the tenant (whether the landlord was relying on section 12(4) of the Principal Act or otherwise), and a dispute referred to in paragraph (a) of section 78(1) of the Principal Act had not been referred to the Board for resolution—(a) paragraph (d) of section 12(1) of the Principal Act shall apply to the landlord as if that paragraph had not been amended by section 16,(b) subsection (4) of section 12 of the Principal Act shall apply in respect of the return of that deposit as if that subsection had not been amended by section 16, and(c) where a dispute on the retention or refund of the deposit arises, either party may refer the dispute to the Board under paragraph (a) of section 78(1) of the Principal Act as if paragraph (a) of that section had not been amended by subsection (1) and the dispute shall be determined as if that paragraph had not been amended by subsection (1).(5) In subsection (2) the reference to a dispute being finally determined in accordance with the Principal Act includes, in respect of that dispute, the final determination of an appeal under section 123(3) of that Act or an application for the enforcement, under section 124 of that Act, of the determination order concerned.".Snippet Ref No: PP00500 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet | Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] Amendment agreed to.Snippet Ref No: PP00600 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet | Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] Government amendment No. 66:In page 17, between lines 17 and 18, to insert the following:"Amendment of section 79 of Principal Act23. Section 79 of the Principal Act is amended—(a) by designating that section as subsection (1), and(b) by inserting the following subsection after subsection (1):“(2) In the case of a complaint made under section 76A—(a) subsection (1) shall not apply to the complaint, and(b) the reference to the Board of a complaint made under section 76A shall not include any other dispute or complaint.".".Snippet Ref No: PP00700 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet | Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] Amendment agreed to.Snippet Ref No: PP00800 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet | Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] Section 19, as amended, agreed to.Snippet Ref No: PP00900 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet | Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] Section 20 agreed to.Snippet Ref No: PP01000 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet | Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] NEW SECTIONSnippet Ref No: PP01200 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet | Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] Government amendment No. 67:In page 17, between lines 34 and 35, to insert the following:"Amendment of section 86 of Principal Act21. Section 86 of the Principal Act is amended, in subsection (1), by substituting the following paragraph for paragraph (a):"(a) the rent payable—(i) under the tenancy concerned shall continue to be payable to the landlord by the tenant, or as the case may be, each multiple tenant, and(ii) under any sub-tenancy arising out of a tenancy referred to in subparagraph (i), shall continue to be payable to the head-tenant by the sub-tenant, or as the case may be, each sub-tenant,".".Snippet Ref No: PP01300 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet | Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] Amendment agreed to.Snippet Ref No: PP01400 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet | Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] Section 21, as amended, agreed to.Snippet Ref No: PP01500 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet | Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] Section 22 agreed to.Snippet Ref No: PP01600 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet | Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] NEW SECTIONSnippet Ref No: PP01800 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet | Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] Government amendment No. 68:In page 18, between lines 14 and 15, to insert the following:"Amendment of section 94 of Principal Act 23. Section 94 of the Principal Act is amended by inserting the following paragraph after paragraph (a): "(aa) mediation of the kind mentioned in that section in relation to a complaint referred to in section 76A in which case the Board may, as it thinks appropriate—(i) arrange for the dispute to be the subject of adjudication under section 97 by a person appointed by it from amongst the panel of adjudicators under section 164(4), or(ii) refer the dispute to the Tribunal,".".Snippet Ref No: PP01900 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet | Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] Amendment agreed to.Snippet Ref No: PP02000 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet | Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] Section 23, as amended, agreed to.Snippet Ref No: PP02100 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet | Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] Section 24 agreed to.Snippet Ref No: PP02200 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet | Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] NEW SECTIONSnippet Ref No: PP02300 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet | Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] Government amendment No. 69:In page 19, between lines 35 and 36, to insert the following:"Amendment of section 97 of Principal Act25. Section 97 of the Principal Act is amended—(a) in subsection (1), by substituting ", 94(a) or 94(aa)" for "or 94(a)", and(b) in subsection (2), by substituting ", 94(a) or 94(aa)" for "or 94(a)".".Snippet Ref No: PP02400 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet | Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] Amendment agreed to.Snippet Ref No: PP02500 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet | Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] Section 25, as amended, agreed to.Snippet Ref No: PP02600 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet | Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] NEW SECTIONSnippet Ref No: PP02700 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet | Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] Government amendment No. 70:In page 19, between lines 37 and 38, to insert the following:"Amendment of section 101 of Principal Act26. Section 101 of the Principal Act is amended in subsection (3), by substituting "94(a) or 94(aa)" for "94(a)".".Snippet Ref No: PP02800 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet | Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] Amendment agreed to.Snippet Ref No: PP02900 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet | Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] Section 26, as amended, agreed to.Snippet Ref No: PP03000 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet | Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] Section 27 agreed to.Snippet Ref No: PP03100 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet | Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] SECTION 28Snippet Ref No: PP03200 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet | Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] Government amendment No. 71:In page 20, line 12, to delete "is amended" and substitute "of the Principal Act is amended".Snippet Ref No: PP03300 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet | Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] Amendment agreed to.Snippet Ref No: PP03400 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet | Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] Government amendment No. 72:In page 20, between lines 15 and 16, to insert the following:"(b) in paragraph (d)(i) by inserting "or 94(aa)" after "section 94(a)",".Snippet Ref No: PP03500 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet | Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] Amendment agreed to.Snippet Ref No: PP03600 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet | Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] Government amendment No. 73:In page 20, line 17, to delete "section".Snippet Ref No: PP03700 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet | Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] Amendment agreed to.Snippet Ref No: PP03800 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet | Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] Government amendment No. 74:In page 20, line 18, to delete "section".Snippet Ref No: PP03900 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet | Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] Amendment agreed to.Snippet Ref No: PP04000 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet | Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] Government amendment No. 75:In page 20, line 19, to delete "Subsection (1) shall" and substitute "Paragraphs (a), (b) and (c) of subsection (1) shall".Snippet Ref No: PP04100 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet | Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - No] (This text is currently joined to the snippet above) Amendment agreed to.Snippet Ref No: PP04200 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet | Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] Section 28, as amended, agreed to.Snippet Ref No: PP04300 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet| Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] SECTION 29Snippet Ref No: PP04400 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet| Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] Government amendment No. 76:In page 20, line 30, to delete "€1,000."." and substitute "€1,000.".Snippet Ref No: PP04500 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet| Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] Amendment agreed to.Snippet Ref No: PP04600 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet| Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] Government amendment No. 77:In page 20, between lines 30 and 31, to insert the following:"(6) For the purposes of a direction under subsection (3), where a complaint under section 76A was made, the amount that is directed under subsection (3) to be paid to a party when that complaint and the original dispute referred to in section 76A have been determined concurrently, shall include the amount of rent that was directed to be paid in the interim direction referred to in section 76B.".".Snippet Ref No: PP04700 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet| Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] Amendment agreed to.Snippet Ref No: PP04800 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet| Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] Section 29, as amended, agreed to.Snippet Ref No: PP04900 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet| Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] NEW SECTIONSnippet Ref No: PP05100 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet| Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] Government amendment No. 78:In page 20, between lines 30 and 31, to insert the following:"Amendment of section 117 of Principal Act30. Section 117 of the Principal Act is amended by inserting the following subsection after subsection (4):"(5) Without prejudice to subsection (1), in the case of a complaint referred to in section 76A, the adjudicator, or as the case may be the Tribunal, may, in dealing with the complaint, proceed to give such directions under this section as the adjudicator or Tribunal, considers appropriate for the purpose of providing relief of an interim nature (other than payment of arrears of rent) to the parties including a direction that pursuant to section 86(1)(a)—(a) the tenant shall continue to pay the rent payable under the tenancy,or(b) the sub-tenant shall continue to pay the rent payable under the subtenancy,pending the determination of the original dispute referred to in section 76A.".".Snippet Ref No: PP05200 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet| Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] Amendment agreed to.Snippet Ref No: PP05300 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet| Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] Government amendment No. 79:In page 20, line 31, to delete "is amended" and substitute "of the Principal Act is amended".Snippet Ref No: PP05400 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet | Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] Amendment agreed to.Snippet Ref No: PP05500 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet | Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] Section 30, as amended, agreed to.Snippet Ref No: PP05600 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet | Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] Sections 31 and 32 agreed to.Snippet Ref No: PP05700 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet | Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] NEW SECTIONSSnippet Ref No: PP05800 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet | Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] Government amendment No. 80:In page 21, between lines 16 and 17, to insert the following:"Amendment of section 124 of Principal Act33. (1) Section 124 of the Principal Act is amended—(a) by substituting “District Court” for “Circuit Court” in each place it occurs,(b) by inserting the following subsections after subsection (7):"(7A) Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (2), where the determination order that is the subject of an application under this section includes provision for the return of a deposit pursuant to section 148B(b) and the Board has paid the deposit in accordance with section 148B(b), the court shall have regard to that payment when making an order under this section including an ancillary or other order referred to in subsection (7).(7B) Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (2), where the determination order that is the subject of an application under this section includes provision for the return of a deposit pursuant to section 148B(b) and the Board has not, before the application under this section, paid the deposit in accordance with section 148B(b), the court shall have regard to such provision for the return of a deposit when making an order under this section including an ancillary or other order referred to in subsection (7).",(c) in subsection (9), by substituting “District Court district” for “circuit”, and(d) by inserting the following subsection after subsection (9):"(10) The monetary limit for the time being standing specified of the jurisdiction of the District Court shall not apply in respect of proceedings brought or heard, as the case may be, in the District Court under this section on or after the commencement of section 33 of the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 2015 and, the monetary limit which shall apply in respect of those proceedings, shall be the monetary limit for the time being standing specified of the jurisdiction of the Circuit Court.".(2) Subject to subsection (3), the amendments effected by paragraphs (a) and (b) of subsection (1) shall not affect any proceedings brought under section 124 of the Principal Act before this section comes into operation.(3) Where, before this section comes into operation, proceedings have been brought under section 124 of the Principal Act but not yet heard either in whole or in part by the Circuit Court, the Circuit Court may—(a) on application to it in that behalf, and(b) with the consent of each party to the proceedings,remit those proceedings to the District Court.(4) For the purposes of subsection (3), proceedings shall not be taken to have been heard in part by reason of the Circuit Court having heard an interlocutory application or any procedural application or motion relating to the proceedings.".Snippet Ref No: PP05900 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet | Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] Amendment agreed to.Snippet Ref No: PP06000 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet | Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] Government amendment No. 81:In page 21, between lines 16 and 17, to insert the following:"Amendment of section 125 of Principal Act34. (1) Section 125 of the Principal Act is amended by substituting "District Court" for "Circuit Court" in each place it occurs.(2) Subject to section 33(3), the amendments effected by subsection (1) shall not affect any proceedings brought under section 124 of the Principal Act before this section comes into operation.".Snippet Ref No: PP06100 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet | Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] Amendment agreed to.Snippet Ref No: PP06200 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet | Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] Government amendment No. 82:In page 21, between lines 16 and 17, to insert the following:"Cancellation of return of deposit in cases of failure to provide statement of agreement or disagreement35. The Principal Act is amended by inserting the following section after section 125:"125A.(1) A person who establishes to the satisfaction of the Board that, in relation to the return, under section 148L(1), of a deposit (or an amount of the deposit), that there are good and substantial reasons for his or her having failed to comply with section 148F(2) and 148I(3), the Board may, subject to subsection (3), exercise the powers referred to in subsection (2).(2) The powers mentioned in subsection (1) are—(a) to cancel the return of the deposit,(b) to direct that the return of the deposit be the subject of a dispute to be referred to the Board under paragraph (ab) of section 78(1), and(c) to direct the party to whom the deposit was returned under section 148L, to return the deposit (or a specified amount of the deposit) to the Board.(3) The Board may direct that—(a) the cancellation of the return of the deposit under section 148L shall not have effect unless specified conditions are, within a specified period, complied with by the person referred to in subsection (1), and(b) the return of the deposit be subject to specified conditions, including, where appropriate, a condition referred to in paragraph (a).(4) The reference to conditions in subsection (3) means conditions analogous to the terms the High Court may impose under the Rules of the Superior Courts for setting aside a judgment obtained in circumstances where one of the parties did not appear at the trial concerned.(5) The reference in subsection (4) to the Rules of the Superior Courts shall be construed in accordance with subsection (6) of section 125.(6) The Board, before deciding whether to exercise the powers under this section, shall afford the party to whom the deposit was returned under section 148L an opportunity to be heard.".".Snippet Ref No: PP06300 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet | Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] Amendment agreed to.Snippet Ref No: PP06400 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet | Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] Government amendment No. 83:In page 21, between lines 16 and 17, to insert the following:"Amendment of section 135 of Principal Act33. Section 135 of the Principal Act is amended—(a) by inserting the following subsection after subsection (1):"(1A) Where—(a) a further Part 4 tenancy comes into being, and(b) pursuant to subsection (1)(c), such further Part 4 tenancy is required to be registered,the requirement under section 134(3A) that such registration be accompanied by the deposit referred to in section 135A or the notice referred to in section 135A(2) shall be satisfied if—(i) the deposit that, in accordance with section 134(3A), accompanied the registration of the tenancy under section 134, has not been returned to either or both parties and remains in the designated tenancy deposit account,(ii) the deposit that, in accordance with section 148P, was transmitted to the Board, has not been returned to either or both parties and remains in the designated tenancy deposit account,(iii) a notice referred to in section 135A accompanied, in accordance with section 134(3A), the registration of the tenancy under section 134, and subsequent to the furnishing of that notice to the Board, the tenant has not paid a deposit referred to in section 12(1)(d) to the landlord, or(iv) a notice referred to in section 148P(2) was sent to the Board and subsequent to the furnishing of that notice to the Board the tenant has not paid a deposit referred to in section 12(1)(d) to the landlord.",(b) by substituting the following subsection for subsection (4):"(4) An acknowledgement, in the prescribed form, shall be given to the applicant under section 134 and to the tenant and shall—(a) acknowledge the receipt by the Board of the application under section 134,(b) acknowledge the receipt by the Board of a fee referred to in subsection (3) of that section,(c) acknowledge the receipt by the Board of a deposit referred to in section 135A and the amount of that deposit, or a notice referred to in section 135A,(d) specify the reference number, referred to in subsection (3), assigned by the Board in respect of the tenancy concerned,(e) include a statement setting out—(i) a summary of the rights and obligations of tenants and landlords under this Act and without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing, the statement shall set out a summary of the rights and obligations of tenants and landlords in relation to—(I) the setting of rent under section 19, a review of rent under section 20 and the notification of a new rent under section 22,(II) security of tenure under Part 4, and(III) the termination of tenancies under Parts 4 and 5,(ii) the matters which may be referred to the Board for resolution under Part 6 and without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing the statement shall specify that—(I) a complaint may be referred to the Board under section 78(1)(b) in respect of the amount of rent that ought to be initially set in compliance with section 19, and(II) a complaint may be referred to the Board under section 78(1)(c) in respect of the amount of rent determined on foot of a review of rent,(iii) the redress that may be granted by the Board and without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing the statement shall specify the maximum amount of damages that may be paid to a party to a dispute pursuant to section 115(3), and (iv) the function of the Board, referred to in section 147A, to disclose to the Revenue Commissioners information contained in the register referred to in that section.",(c) by inserting the following subsections after subsection (4):"(4A) An acknowledgement referred to in subsection (4) shall specify—(a) the procedures for the return of the deposit and the requirement on the parties under this Act and the conditions, in respect of such return, referred to in section 12(4),(b) the obligations on the parties referred to in sections 12(1)(d)(ii),16(o) and 148A, (c) that, without prejudice to paragraph (b) and the obligation on the parties under sections 12(1)(d)(ii)(III) and 16(o)(iii), all notifications relating to the return of the deposit referred to in section 12(1)(d) will be sent to the most recent address provided to the Board by each party, and(d) that any interest that accrues on the deposit held by the Board will be retained by the Board in accordance with this Act.(4B) Where an application under section 134 is received by the Board and is not accompanied by the deposit, or statement, referred to in section 135A(2), without prejudice to subsections (4) and (5), the Board shall, as soon as practicable, notify the parties in writing of the omission concerned and request the landlord to transmit such deposit or provide such statement not later than 14 days from the receipt of the notice under this subsection.(4C) The notification in writing under subsection (4B) shall be in the prescribed form.",(d) by substituting the following subsection for subsection (5):"(5) Where an application, other than an application referred to in subsection (6), under section 134 is received by the Board and the application is—(a) incomplete, or(b) not accompanied by—(i) the fee referred to in section 134(3)(b)(i) or as the case may be section 134(3)(b)(ii), or(ii) the fee referred to in section 134(3)(c), where that fee is required to be paid, the Board shall notify the applicant of the omission concerned and specify a date by which the application is to be completed or the fee is to be paid.",and(e) inserting the following subsections after subsection (5):"(6) Where—(a) an application under section 134 received by the Board is incomplete, and(b) the Board, having regard to—(i) the information provided with that application, and(ii) the information required to be contained in the register pursuant to section 127(3),is satisfied that the information provided with the application, is sufficient to effect the registration of the tenancy concerned,the Board, having regard to the proper discharge by it of its functions under this Act and where in its opinion it is appropriate, may, subject to subsection (7), treat the application as complete for the purposes of this Part and register the tenancy concerned.(7) Subsection (6) shall not apply where the deposit, or the statement, referred to in section 134(3A), have not accompanied the application under section 134.(8) Where an application referred to in subsection (6) is received by the Board before the coming into operation of subsection (6), and has not been determined before such coming into operation, subsection (6) shall apply to such application.".".Snippet Ref No: PP06500 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet | Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] Amendment agreed to.Snippet Ref No: PP06600 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet | Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] Section 33, as amended, agreed to.Snippet Ref No: PP06700 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet | Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] NEW SECTIONSSnippet Ref No: PP06800 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet | Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] Government amendment No. 84:In page 21, between lines 29 and 30, to insert the following:"Obligation to transmit deposit to Board34. The Principal Act is amended by inserting the following sections after section 135:"135A.(1)For the purposes of section 12(1)(d), where a deposit referred to in that section is paid by a tenant to his or her landlord on entering into the agreement for the tenancy or lease, the landlord shall, subject to subsection (2), transmit that deposit to the Board with the application for registration under section 134.(2) Where a tenant has not paid a deposit referred to in subsection (1) to his or her landlord on entering into the agreement for the tenancy or lease, the application for registration under section 134 shall be accompanied by a statement, in the prescribed form, stating that the tenant has not paid a deposit referred to in subsection (1) to the landlord and that a deposit is not available to provide for a default referred to in section 12(4).(3) For the purposes of subsection (1), where the landlord transmits a sum of money to the Board that is equal in value to the sum of the deposit, the sum transmitted to the Board shall be treated as the deposit paid to the landlord by the tenant.(4) The Minister may make regulations relating to the manner in which the deposit referred to in subsection (1) may be transmitted to the Board and may include provision for the electronic transfer of the deposit.Enforcement of obligations under section 135A135B. (1)Where a notice under section 135(4B) is sent to a landlord and he or she does not transmit the deposit concerned or furnish the statement concerned within the period specified in that notice, the Board shall serve a further notice on the landlord stating that he or she is required to transmit the deposit concerned or furnish the notice concerned to the Board within 14 days of receipt by him or her of the further notice under this section and that where he or she fails to do so within that period, he or she is guilty of an offence.(2) A person who fails to comply with the further notice under subsection (1) is guilty of an offence.(3) It shall be a defence for a person charged with an offence under subsection (2) for the person to show that he or she took all reasonable steps to comply with subsection (1).".".Snippet Ref No: PP06900 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet | Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] Amendment agreed to.Snippet Ref No: PP07000 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet | Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] Government amendment No. 85:In page 21, to delete lines 31 and 32 and substitute the following:"(a) by designating that section as subsection (1),(b) in subsection (1)—(i) by deleting paragraph (e),(ii) by deleting subparagraphs (i) and (ii) of paragraph (i), and(iii) by inserting the following paragraph after paragraph (k):"(ka) if a deposit referred to in section 134(3A) has accompanied the application, the amount of that deposit,",and(c) by inserting the following subsection after subsection (1):"(2) Nothing in subsection (6) of section 135 shall operate to affect the obligation under subsection (1).".". Amendment agreed to.Snippet Ref No: PP07100 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet | Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] Section 34, as amended, agreed to.Snippet Ref No: PP07200 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet | Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] NEW SECTIONSSnippet Ref No: PP07300 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet | Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] Government amendment No. 86:In page 21, between lines 32 and 33, to insert the following:"Amendment of section 139 of Principal Act35. Section 139 of the Principal Act is amended—(a) in subsection (1), by substituting ", by a notice in writing in the prescribed form, the information specified in subsection (2)" for "the information mentioned in subsection (2) in the prescribed form",(b) by inserting the following subsection after subsection (1):"(1A) The landlord and the tenant shall sign the notice referred to in subsection (1).",(c) by substituting the following subsection for subsection (2):"(2) The notice referred to in subsection (1) shall—(a) specify the amount of rent referred to in subsection (1) following the alteration referred to in that subsection,(b) include a statement by the tenant that—(i) he or she has knowledge of the provisions of Part 3, and(ii) without prejudice to the generality of subparagraph (i), he or she has knowledge of the requirements, under section 19, for setting an amount of rent under a tenancy,(c) include a statement by the landlord specifying the amount of rent sought for 3 dwellings—(i) of a similar size, type and character to the dwelling that is the subject of the tenancy concerned, and(ii) situated in a comparable area to that in which the dwelling the subject of the tenancy concerned is situated,and(d) so far as any of the other matters in respect of which particulars were entered in the register in respect of the tenancy have changed in any material respect since, as appropriate—(i) the tenancy was registered in the register, or(ii) information in respect of them was last previously furnished to the Board under subsection (1), include particulars in respect of those other matters as they stand at the date of this furnishing of information under subsection (1).",and(d) by inserting the following subsections after subsection (4):"(5) Without prejudice to subsection (1), the Board shall, as soon as may be, update the register following the receipt by it of—(a) information referred to in section 12(1)(d)(ii)(III), and(b) information referred to in section 16(o)(iii).(6) No fee shall be payable in respect of the furnishing to the Board of the information referred to in subsection (5).(7) In paragraph (d) of subsection (2), 'amount of rent sought' has the same meaning as it has in section 22.".".Snippet Ref No: PP07400 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet | Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] Amendment agreed to.Snippet Ref No: PP07500 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet | Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] Government amendment No. 87:In page 21, between lines 32 and 33, to insert the following:"New sections 148A to 148Q inserted into Principal Act36. The Principal Act is amended by inserting the following sections after section 148:"Obligation of parties in relation to return of deposit148A. Without prejudice to sections 12(1)(d)(ii), 16(o), 148F(2) and 148I(3), for the purpose of the performance of the Board of its functions relating to the return of a deposit referred to in section 12(1)(d), a landlord and a tenant shall respond to a notification of the Board in respect of such return within the prescribed period that is specified, in regulations, for the notification concerned.Return of deposit by Board148B. The Board shall return a deposit transmitted to it by the landlord pursuant to section 134(3A), to one or, as the case may be, both parties—(a) pursuant to an agreement between the parties, in respect of which an application is made under section 148C, as to such return or, as the case may be, pursuant to section 148G or 148J,(b) where one or both parties have referred a dispute to the Board in respect of the return of the deposit and the Board has, under section 121, prepared and issued a determination order, such return shall be made—(i) in accordance with the determination order concerned and, in the case of a determination order referred to in section 123(1), as soon as practicable after the determination order is issued to, and becomes binding on, the parties in accordance with section 123(1) or such other period as may be specified in the determination order,(ii) in accordance with the determination order concerned and, in the case of a determination order referred to in section 123(2), as soon as practicable after the expiry of the relevant period (within the meaning of section 123(8)), or such other period as may be specified in the determination order,(iii) where the determination order is appealed under section 123(3), in accordance with the final determination of those proceedings and as soon as practicable after such final determination or such other period as may be specified in the determination order or such final determination, or(iv) where an application is made under section 124 in respect of the determination order before the deposit is paid, in accordance with the final determination of those proceedings and as soon as practicable after such final determination,or(c) in accordance with section 148L.Agreement between the parties on the return of deposit148C. (1) Where the landlord and tenant are in agreement in respect of the manner in which the deposit referred to in section 12(1)(d) is to be returned by the Board, an application may be made to the Board by both parties (in this Act referred to as a ‘joint agreed application’) in respect of the return of the deposit to one or both of the parties.(2) A joint agreed application shall be made on, or as soon as practicable after, the end of the tenancy.(3) A joint agreed application under this section shall include—(a) the reference number, referred to in section 135(3), used by the Board for the tenancy concerned,(b) the date on which the tenancy ended,(c) a statement that the landlord and the tenant have agreed the manner in which the deposit is to be returned to one or both of the parties,(d) having regard to the conditions referred to in section 12(4), a statement that—(i) all of the deposit is to be returned to the tenant,(ii) all of the deposit is to be returned to the landlord, or(iii) the whole amount of the deposit is not to be returned to the tenant or the landlord and specifying the amount that is to be returned to each party,(e) the address of the dwelling, and(f) the address for correspondence, after the tenancy has ended, of the landlord and the tenant if the address has not been provided to the Board as required under section 12(1)(d)(ii)(III) or, as the case may be, section 16(o)(iii).(4) A joint agreed application shall be made in the prescribed form and each party shall state their agreement to the return of the deposit in the manner specified in the joint agreed application.(5) A joint agreed application under this section shall be sent to the Board by the landlord.(6) The Minister may make regulations under this section for the making of a joint agreed application and provision may be made for the making of the application by electronic means and such regulations may contain such incidental, supplementary and consequential provisions as appear to the Minister to be necessary or expedient for the purpose of the regulations.Return by Board of deposit where joint agreed application made under section 148C148D. (1) Where the Board has received a joint agreed application under section 148C for the return of the deposit referred to in section 12(1)(d), it shall, as soon as practicable—(a) acknowledge receipt of the joint agreed application to each party,and(b) return the deposit in accordance with the manner specified in the joint agreed application pursuant to section 148C(3)(d), unless one of the parties notifies the Board, in writing, within the prescribed period, that there is no agreement between the parties in respect of the manner in which all or part of the deposit is to be returned to one or both of them.(2) Where the address provided for the landlord or tenant in the joint agreed application is different to the address furnished to the Board pursuant to—(a) section 12(1)(d)(ii)(III), in the case of the landlord or, as the case may be, the address for correspondence furnished to the Board pursuant to section 136, or(b) section 16(o)(iii), in the case of the tenant, the Board shall notify the parties accordingly and require confirmation of the correct address for correspondence in respect of the return of the deposit.(3) Where the Board does not receive a notification referred to in paragraph (b) of subsection (1) within the prescribed period, the Board shall, as soon as practicable, return the deposit in accordance with the joint agreed application.(4) Where the landlord or the tenant notifies the Board of the matter specified in subsection (1)(b), the Board shall notify the parties, in writing, that—(a) as there is no agreement between the parties in respect of the return by the Board of the deposit referred to in section 12(1)(d), and(b) as the Board is required under section 148B to return all or part of the deposit referred to in section 12(1)(d) to one or both of the parties in accordance with section 148B, it is a matter for the parties to agree the manner of the return of the deposit or, where there is no agreement in respect of the return of the deposit, for one party or both parties to refer the dispute on such return to the Board for resolution under Part 6.Application for return of deposit where no agreement between the parties148E.(1) Where a landlord and tenant do not agree on the return, by the Board, of a deposit to one or both of them, the landlord or the tenant may apply to the Board in respect of such return to one or both of them on, or as soon as practicable after, the end of the tenancy.(2) An application under this section shall include—(a) the reference number, referred to in section 135(3), used by the Board for the tenancy concerned,(b) the date on which the tenancy ended,(c) a statement that the parties are not in agreement in respect of the return of the deposit to one or both of them,(d) a statement that—(i) all of the deposit is to be returned to the tenant,(ii) all of the deposit is to be returned to the landlord, or(iii) the whole amount of the deposit is not to be returned to the tenant or the landlord and specifying the amount that is to be returned to each party,(e) the address of the dwelling,(f) confirmation that the applicant has complied with the obligation under section 12(1)(d)(ii)(III) or, as the case may be, section 16(o)(iii),(g) if the application is made by the landlord, a statement as to whether he or she has—(i) made the notification referred to in section 12(1)(d)(ii)(IV) to the Board, and(ii) complied, where the notification was made, with section 12(6),and(h) if the application is made by the tenant, a statement—(i) as to whether he or she has received a copy of the notification referred to in section 12(1)(d)(ii)(IV),(ii) as to whether he or she agrees with the matters specified in that notification, and(iii) as to whether the statement referred to in paragraph (d) incorporates the matters specified in that notification.(3) Where the Board receives an application under this section from each party in respect of the same tenancy, the Board shall consider each such application together.(4) An application under this section shall be made on notice to the other party to the tenancy.(5) An application under this section shall be made in the prescribed form.(6) Without prejudice to paragraph (h) of subsection (2), where—(a) a tenant makes an application under section 148E,(b) the tenant has received a copy of the notification referred to in section 12(1)(d)(ii)(IV),(c) the tenant does not agree with the matters specified in the notification, and(d) the tenant has not incorporated all or any of the matters specified in that notification in the statement referred to in paragraph (d) of subsection (2),the Board shall notify the parties that—(i) as, pursuant to the statement referred to in paragraph (d) and the notification referred to in paragraph (b), there is no agreement between the parties in relation to the matters specified in the notification, and(ii) as the Board is required under paragraph (b) of section 148B to return all or part of the deposit referred to in section 12(1)(d) to one or both of the parties in accordance with that section, it is a matter for the parties to agree the manner of the return of the deposit or, where there is no agreement in respect of the return of the deposit, for one party or both parties to refer the dispute on such return to the Board for resolution under Part 6.(7) The Minister may make regulations under this section for the making of an application under this section and provision may be made for the making of the application by electronic means.Notification by Board of application for return of deposit where no agreement between the parties148F. (1)On receipt of an application under section 148E, the Board shall—(a) acknowledge receipt of the application on notice to the party who did not make the application,(b) notify the party who did not make the application—(i) that an application has been made under section 148E for the return of the deposit,(ii) of the statement referred to in section 148E(2)(d), and(iii) if the application was made—(I) by the landlord, whether the landlord has provided the notification to the Board under section 12(1)(d)(ii)(IV) and whether the notification has specified a default referred to in section 12(4), or(II) by the tenant, whether he or she has received a copy of the notification and whether he or she agrees with the matters specified in it and has taken it into account in the statement referred to in subparagraph (ii),(c) request the party who did not make the application concerned to notify the Board, in writing and within the prescribed period, if he or she—(i) agrees with the return of the deposit as set out in the application concerned (in this Act referred to as a ‘statement of agreement’),or(ii) does not agree with the return of the deposit as set out in the application concerned (in this Act referred to as a ‘statement of disagreement’),(d) notify the party who did not make the application—(i) of the requirements for return of the deposit under section 148B, and(ii) that it is a matter for the parties to agree the manner of the return of the deposit or, where there is no agreement in respect of the return of the deposit, for one party or both parties to refer the dispute on such return to the Board for resolution under Part 6,(e) inform the party who did not make the application of the right of referral to the Board for resolution under Part 6 of a dispute between the parties in respect of the return of the deposit,(f) request the party who did not make the application to notify the Board that if he or she does not agree with the return of the deposit whether he or she proposes to refer, or has referred, the disagreement on such return to the Board for resolution under Part 6,(g) inform the party who did not make the application that where he or she does not respond, within the prescribed period, to the Board with the information requested under paragraph (c), the return of the deposit shall be made in accordance with section 148L, and(h) inform the party who did not make the application of the obligations on the parties under sections 12(1)(d)(ii)(III) and 16(o) (iii) to provide the Board with his or her address for correspondence when the tenancy has ended and of the obligations of the parties under section 148A and subsection (2).(2) Without prejudice to section 148A, the party who did not make the application under section 148E and to whom the notification in subsection (1) is sent, shall send the statement of agreement or, as the case may be, the statement of disagreement to the Board within the prescribed period.(3) Where the party who did not make the application under section 148E proposes to refer, or has referred, the disagreement referred to in paragraph (f) of subsection (1), to the Board for resolution under Part 6, he or she shall, within the prescribed period, notify the Board accordingly and such notification shall be made in writing in the prescribed form.Return of deposit where statement of agreement under section 148F received148G. (1) Where the party who did not make the application under section 148E, and to whom a notification under section 148F(1) was made, sends the Board a statement of agreement, the Board shall—(a) acknowledge receipt of the statement of agreement on notice to the party who made the application under section 148E, and(b) return the deposit in accordance with the application under section 148E as soon as practicable.(2) A statement of agreement shall be in writing and in the prescribed form.Notification to parties of statement of disagreement under section 148F148H. (1) Where the party who did not make the application under section 148E, and to whom a notification under section 148F was made, provides the Board with a statement of disagreement, the Board shall—(a) acknowledge receipt of the statement of disagreement on notice to the party who made the application under section 148E, and(b) notify both parties that—(i) as, pursuant to the statement of disagreement by the party who did not make the application under section 148E, there is no agreement between the parties in respect of the return by the Board of the deposit referred to in section 12(1)(d), and(ii) as the Board is required under paragraph (b) of section 148B to return all or part of the deposit referred to in section 12(1)(d) to one or both of the parties in accordance with that section,it is a matter for the parties to agree the manner of the return of the deposit or, where there is no agreement in respect of the return of the deposit, for one party or both parties to refer the dispute on such return to the Board for resolution under Part 6.(2) A statement of disagreement shall be in writing and be made in the prescribed form.(3) The notification under subsection (1)(b) shall be in the prescribed form.(4) Following the notification under subsection (1)(b)—(a) where the parties subsequently agree on the amount of the deposit to be returned to one or both of them, the parties may make a joint agreed application under section 148C in respect of that deposit, or(b) either of the parties may, subsequent to that notification, make an application under section 148E (in this section referred to as a 'revised application') and nothing in this Act shall be construed as preventing the party who did not make the revised application from providing a statement of agreement in respect of that revised application.(5) Where the parties make a joint agreed application pursuant to subsection (4)(a), the parties shall notify the Board that the joint agreed application replaces the first application made under section 148E.Notification by Board where no statement of agreement, or disagreement, received within prescribed period148I. (1) Where the Board does not receive, pursuant to section 148F, astatement of agreement or, as the case may be, a statement ofdisagreement within the prescribed period, the Board shall—(a) notify the party who did not make the application under section 148E that the Board has not received, within the prescribed period, a statement of agreement or, as the case may be, a statement of disagreement as required under section 148F(2),(b) request the party referred to in paragraph (a) to provide the Board, within the prescribed period, with—(i) a statement of agreement or, as the case may be, the statement of disagreement as required under section 148F(2), and(ii) a notification specified in subsection (2), if a statement of disagreement is provided to the Board pursuant to subparagraph (i),(c) notify the party referred to in paragraph (a) of the return of the deposit by the Board in accordance with section 148L if—(i) the notification referred to in subparagraph (i) of paragraph (b) is not provided to the Board within the period prescribed for the purposes of that paragraph,(ii) a notification referred to in subparagraph (ii) of paragraph (b), that is required under that subparagraph to be provided to the Board, is not provided to the Board within the period prescribed for the purposes of that paragraph, and(iii) the Board is satisfied of the matters specified in subsection (1) of section 148L,and(d) notify the party referred to in paragraph (a) of the obligation of the landlord under section 12(1)(d)(ii) and the tenant under section 16(o), the obligations on the parties under section 148A, the obligation under section 148F(2) and of the obligation under subsection (3).(2) Where a statement of disagreement is provided to the Board pursuant to subsection (1), it shall be accompanied by a notification, in writing, to the Board stating whether the party to whom the notification under subsection (1) was sent—(a) has made an application under section 148E in respect of the deposit concerned, or (b) has referred a dispute to the Board, for resolution under Part 6, in relation to the deposit concerned.(3) Without prejudice to section 148A, the party to whom the request referred to in paragraph (b) of subsection (1) is made shall provide the Board, within the prescribed period, with—(a) the statement of agreement or, as the case may be, the statement of disagreement, and(b) where a notification specified in subparagraph (ii) of that paragraph is required to be provided to the Board, shall provide the Board with that notification.(4) Where, pursuant to a notification under subsection (1), the Board does not, within the prescribed period, receive—(a) a statement of agreement or, as the case may be, a statement of disagreement, and(b) a notification referred to in subparagraph (ii) of paragraph (b) of subsection (1) where such notification is required to be provided to the Board under that subparagraph, the Board shall request the party who made the application under section 148E to make a statutory declaration which shall include a declaration as to the matters specified in subsection (5).(5) A statutory declaration referred to in subsection (5) shall include a declaration—(a) that the person making the declaration—(i) has not participated with the other party to make a joint agreed application under section 148C in respect of the return of the deposit concerned,(ii) has not made a new application (including a revised application referred to in section 148K) under section 148E in respect of the deposit concerned,(iii) has not, pursuant to the failure, by the other party, to comply with subsection (3) or section 148F(2), referred a dispute to the Board for resolution under Part 6, other than a dispute under subsection (6), in relation to the return of the deposit, and(iv) has not received a notification from the Board, pursuant to Part 6, that an application has been made to it pursuant to section 76 in respect of the return of the deposit or any matter relating to the return of the deposit,(b) that, in respect of the return, by the Board, of the deposit—(i) the deposit be returned to the tenant,(ii) the deposit be returned to the landlord, or(iii) if the whole amount of the deposit is not to be returned to the tenant or the landlord, the amount of the deposit that is to be returned to each party, (c) of the grounds on which he or she is relying on for the return of the deposit and where an amount of the deposit is to be returned to him or her, as specified in accordance with paragraph (b)(iii), the grounds on which that amount is calculated,(d) if he or she is the tenant, that—(i) he or she has not, received a notification under section 12(6) of a default referred to in section 12(4), and(ii) to the best of his or her knowledge, there has, or has not, been a default referred to in section 12(4), and if there has been such default that it has been addressed in the declaration pursuant to the requirements of paragraphs (b) and (c),and(e) if he or she is the landlord, that—(i) he or she has complied with sections 12(1)(d)(ii)(IV) and 12(6),and(ii) there has been a default referred to in section 12(4), and it has been addressed in the declaration pursuant to the requirements of paragraphs (b) and (c).(6) Any loss accruing to the party who made the application under section 148E by reason of delay in the return of the deposit that arises from either or both of the following may be the subject of a complaint to the Board under Part 6:(a) the failure of the other party to provide the Board with a notification of agreement or disagreement under section 148F and subsection (3) (or either of them) within the prescribed period;(b) the failure of the other party to comply with section 12(1)(d)(ii)(III) or, as the case may be, section 16(o)(iii).(7) A notification and request under subsection (1) shall be made in the prescribed form.(8) The Board shall send the party who made the application under section 148E a copy of a notification under subsection (1).(9) The party referred to in subsection (1)(b) shall notify the party who made the application under section 148E that he or she has sent to the Board—(a) the statement of agreement, or(b) the statement of disagreement and a notification required under subsection (2), within the prescribed period.(10) Where—(a) the application under section 148E is made by a tenant,(b) the landlord has failed to comply with subsection (3),(c) the landlord has made the notification to the Board in accordance with section 12(1)(d)(ii)(IV), and(d) the tenant has not received the copy of the notification referred to in section 12(6),the Board shall notify the parties, in writing, that—(i) having regard to the making to the Board of the notification referred to in paragraph (c) and the absence of the notification referred to in paragraph (d), the matter of the default concerned requires to be addressed, and(ii) having regard to section 148B(b), it is a matter for the parties to agree the manner of the return of the deposit or, where there is no agreement in respect of the return of the deposit, for one party or both parties to refer the dispute on such return to the Board for resolution under Part 6.Return of deposit where statement of agreement under section 148I received148J. (1)Where, pursuant to the notification under section 148I(1), the Board receives a statement of agreement, the Board shall—(a) acknowledge receipt of the statement of agreement on notice to the party who made the application under section 148E, and(b) return the deposit in accordance with the application under section 148E as soon as practicable.(2) A statement of agreement shall be in writing and be made in the prescribed form.Notification to parties of statement of disagreement under section 148I148K. (1) Where, pursuant to the notification under section 148I(1), the party concerned provides the Board with a statement of disagreement, the Board shall—(a) acknowledge receipt of the statement of disagreement on notice to the party who made the application under section 148E, and(b) notify both parties, in writing, of the matters specified in paragraph (b) of section 148H(1).(2) Following the notification under subsection (1)(b)—(a) where the parties subsequently agree on the amount of the deposit to be returned to one or both of them, the parties may make a joint agreed application under section 148C in respect of that deposit, or(b) either of the parties may, subsequent to that notification, make a revised application and nothing in this Act shall be construed as preventing the party who did not make the revised application from providing a statement of agreement in respect of that revised application, and section 148H(5) shall apply to the joint agreed application referred to in paragraph (a).(3) A notification under subsection (1)(b) shall be in writing and be made in the prescribed form.(4) In this section ‘revised application’ has the meaning assigned to it in section 148H.Return of deposit where no notification of agreement or disagreement made148L. (1)Where—(a) pursuant to a notification under section 148I(1), the Board does not, within the prescribed period, receive—(i) a statement of agreement or, as the case may be, a statement of disagreement, and(ii) a notification referred to in subparagraph (ii) of paragraph (b) of subsection (1) of that section where such notification is required to be provided to the Board under that subparagraph,(b) the Board has received a statutory declaration referred to in section 148I(5),(c) the Board has satisfied itself, having regard to the statutory declaration referred to in section 148I(5) that the party who made the application under section 148E—(i) has not made a joint agreed application under section 148C in respect of the return of the deposit concerned,(ii) has not made a new application (including a revised application referred to in section 148H) under section 148E in relation to the return of the deposit concerned,(iii) has not referred a dispute to the Board for resolution under Part 6 in relation to the return of the deposit other than a dispute referred to in section 148I(6), and(iv) has not received a notification from the Board, pursuant to its functions under Part 6, that an application has been made to it under section 76 in respect of the return of the deposit or any matter relating to the return of the deposit,(d) the Board is satisfied that, having regard to the statutory declaration referred to in section 148I(5), all the matters that are required, under section 148I(5), to be declared, have been declared,(e) the Board has satisfied itself that no other application for the return of the deposit concerned has been made in respect of the tenancy concerned having regard to the reference number assigned to the tenancy in accordance with section 135(3),(f) the Board has satisfied itself that no dispute has been referred to the Board under Part 6 in respect of the tenancy concerned and where a dispute was referred to the Board, that it did not concern the return of the deposit, and(g) the Board has satisfied itself that the other party has been notified of the application at the address provided by him or her in accordance with section 12(1)(d)(ii)(II) or 16(o)(iii), the Board shall, subject to subsection (2), return the deposit referred to in section 12(1)(d) to the party who made the application under section 148E as soon as practicable.(2) Where a party has failed to comply with section 148I(3)—(a) the Board has had regard to—(i) the circumstances of the application under section 148E, or(ii) the matters referred to in paragraphs (b) to (g) of subsection (1),and(b) in the opinion of the Board, the return of the deposit is a matter that requires resolution by the Board under Part 6, the Board may request the party who made the application under section 148E to refer the application under section 148E to the Board for resolution under Part 6.Offence of furnishing false or misleading information in relation to return of deposit148M. A person who, in purported compliance with, section 148C, 148E or 148F or subsection (1), (2), (3) or (9) of section 148I, furnishes information to the Board which is false or misleading in a material respect knowing it to be false or misleading or being reckless as to whether it is false or misleading, is guilty of an offence.Notifications by Board for purposes of return of deposit148N. For the purpose of the performance by the Board of its functions relating to the return of a deposit referred to in section 12(1)(d), the Board shall, when making a notification to a party pursuant to those functions, send the notification to the most recent address which the party concerned has, as required under section 12(1)(d)(ii) or, as the case may be, section 16(o), provided to the Board.Reference by party of return of deposit to Board as a dispute for resolution under Part 6148O. (1) Without prejudice to sections 76 and 78, where a party made an application under section 148E and the other party has not provided a statement of agreement or a statement of disagreement in respect of that application within the prescribed period specified for the purposes of section 148F(1)(c) or 148I(1)(b), that party may, at any time after the prescribed period concerned, refer the return of the deposit to one or both parties to the Board as a dispute requiring resolution under Part 6.(2) The party who refers the dispute referred to in subsection (1) for resolution under Part 6 shall notify the Board and the other party to the tenancy that the application under section 148E has been withdrawn and the return of the deposit to one or both parties has been referred to the Board as a dispute requiring resolution under Part 6 and the notification under this section shall be made at the time the reference of the dispute for resolution under Part 6 is made.(3) For the purposes of section 148B, where the dispute referred to in subsection (1) is referred to the Board for resolution under Part 6—(a) the application under section 148E shall be treated as withdrawn, and(b) the return of the deposit concerned shall be made in accordance with section 148B(b).Transitional provisions relating to transmission of deposits of certain tenancies148P. (1)Where, on or before the coming into operation of sections 16 and 36 of the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 2015—(a) a tenancy was registered in accordance with section 134,(b) the tenancy has not been terminated,(c) a notice of termination has not been served in respect of the tenancy, and(d) a deposit had been paid by the tenant to the landlord on entering into the agreement for the tenancy or lease and in respect of which sections 12(1)(d) and 12(4) applied to the return or repayment, by the landlord, of the deposit before those sections were amended by section 16 of the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 2015, the landlord shall transmit the deposit to the Board not later than 6 months from the date on which sections 16 and 36 of the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 2015 come into operation.(2) Where, on or before the coming into operation of sections 16 and 36 of the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 2015—(a) a tenancy was registered in accordance with section 134,(b) the tenancy has not been terminated,(c) a notice of termination has not been served in respect of the tenancy, and(d) the tenant had not paid a deposit to the landlord on entering into the agreement for the tenancy or lease,the landlord shall, not later than 6 months from the date on which sections 16 and 36 of the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 2015 come into operation, provide a statement to the Board, in the prescribed form, stating that the tenant has not paid a deposit referred to in subsection (1) to the landlord and that a deposit is not available to provide for a default referred to in section 12(4).(3) A landlord shall furnish the reference number, referred to in section 135(3), assigned by the Board for the tenancy concerned with the transmission of the deposit or, as the case may be, the statement referred to in subsection (2).(4) The landlord shall notify the tenant in writing that he or she has complied with the obligation under subsection (1) or (2) at the same time he or she transmits the deposit or provides the statement to the Board.(5) The following provisions shall apply to a tenancy referred to in this section with the modifications specified for those sections:(a) clauses (I) to (IV) of section 12(1)(d)(ii);(b) subparagraphs (i) to (iii) of section 16(o);(c) paragraphs (c) and (d) of section 135(4) and the reference in those paragraphs— (i) to 'acknowledgment' shall be construed as 'acknowledgment of a deposit transmitted or notice provided pursuant to section 148P', and(ii) to 'applicant under section 134' shall be construed as 'landlord who furnished a deposit or notice pursuant to section 148P';(d) subsection (4A) of section 135 and the reference in that subsection to 'the acknowledgement referred to in subsection (4)’ shall be construed as ‘the acknowledgement of a deposit transmitted or notice provided pursuant to section 148P';(e) subsections (3) and (4) of section 135A and the reference in subsection (4) to the manner in which the deposit is to be transferred to the Board shall be construed as including thetransmission of a deposit under this section;(f) paragraph (ka) of section 136(1) and the reference to 'has accompanied the application’ shall be construed as a reference to 'has been furnished pursuant to section 148P';(g) subsections (5) and (6) of section 139;(h) sections 148A to 148O.Enforcement of obligation under section 148P148Q. (1) Where, after the expiration of the 6 month period referred to in section 148P, it appears to the Board that a deposit for a tenancy registered in the register or a notice referred to in section 148P(2) has not been furnished to the Board in accordance with section 148P within that period, the Board shall, as soon as practicable—(a) notify the parties to the tenancy in writing that it has not received the deposit or the notice referred to in section 148P, and (b) request the landlord—(i) to transmit the deposit to the Board or to furnish the statement referred to in section 148P(2) not later than 14 days from the receipt of the notice, or(ii) to notify the Board in writing, not later than 14 days from receipt of the notice, that a notice of termination has been served on the tenant and of the date of service of that notice, or that the tenancy has been terminated, and of the date of the termination.(2) The landlord shall notify the tenant in writing of the transmission of the deposit or notice pursuant to paragraph (b)(i) or the notification to the Board referred to in paragraph (b)(ii). (3) Where a notice under subsection (1) is sent to a landlord and he or she does not—(a) transmit to the Board, within the period referred to in paragraph (b)(i) of subsection (1), the deposit referred to in that subsection,(b) provide to the Board, within the period referred to in paragraph (b)(i) of subsection (1), the statement referred to in that subsection, or(c) notify the Board, within the period referred to in paragraph (b)(ii) of subsection (1), that a notice of termination has been served in respect of the tenancy or that the tenancy has been terminated in accordance with this Act,the Board shall serve a further notice on the landlord stating that he or she is required to—(i) transmit a deposit referred to in subsection (1)(b)(i) or provide the statement referred to in subsection (1)(b)(ii) to the Board within 14 days from the date of receipt of the further notice, or(ii) notify the Board, within 14 days from the date of the further notice that a notice of termination has been served in respect of the tenancy or that the tenancy has been terminated in accordance with this Act,and that where he or she fails to do so within that period, he or she is guilty of an offence.(4) A person who fails to comply with a further notice under subsection (3) is guilty of an offence.(5) It shall be a defence for a person charged with an offence under subsection (4) for that person to show that he or she took all reasonable steps to comply with subsection (3).".".Snippet Ref No: PP07600 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet | Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Speaker] Deputy Paudie Coffey: Amendment No. 87 provides for the insertion of new sections 148A to 148Q in the principal Act. The purpose of the sections is to provide for the practical operation of the deposit protection scheme in respect of the return of the deposit to the tenant or the landlord at the end of the tenancy. Applications for the return of a deposit can be divided into two categories, namely, applications where there is agreement between the parties and applications where there is no agreement. Applications where there is agreement are dealt with by means of a joint application to the board by the parties, and the deposit is returned on the basis of this application. Based on the PRTB's statistics, it can be expected that the vast majority of applications will fit into this category. Applications with no agreement can be further divided into categories. Where there is engagement with the process for the return of the deposit on the part of landlord and tenant, each party may make an individual application for the return of the deposit and where agreement cannot be which between them the process will allow those parties to refer the matter to the board for resolution by means of the board's dispute resolution process. The process also provides for those situations where there is no engagement on the part of one of the parties. This can arise where a tenant who owes rent to a landlord at the end of a tenancy may have left the country or refuse to sign a joint application. Similarly, a landlord may refuse to engage with the tenant regarding the return of the deposit, even though the tenant is entitled to have the deposit returned. In such circumstances, the procedures allow the board to return the deposit to the party who engaged with the process, even though there is no agreement and without the matter having to be referred to the dispute resolution process. Safeguards are built into the procedures, including requirement for the prior notification of payment to both parties to ensure false applications are not made by either party. It is for that purpose the amendments we discussed earlier place obligations on landlords and tenants to engage with the board regarding the return of the deposit and to provide up to date contact details.Snippet Ref No: PP07700 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet | Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] Amendment agreed to.Snippet Ref No: PP07900 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet | Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] Government amendment No. 88:In page 21, between lines 32 and 33, to insert the following:"Amendment of section 151 of Principal Act37. Section 151 of the Principal Act is amended, in subsection (1), by inserting the following paragraphs after paragraph (b):"(ba) to retain deposits transmitted to it in accordance with this Act in one or more designated tenancy deposit accounts and to return the deposits to the parties concerned in accordance with this Act,(bb) to retain the interest that accrues on a designated tenancy deposit account and use it to meet the costs of the performance by it of its functions under this Act,".".Snippet Ref No: PP08000 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet | Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] Amendment agreed to.Snippet Ref No: PP08100 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet | Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] Section 35, as amended, agreed to.Snippet Ref No: PP08200 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet | Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] Sections 36 to 38, inclusive, agreed to.Snippet Ref No: PP08300 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet | Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] NEW SECTIONSSnippet Ref No: PP08500 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet | Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] Government amendment No. 89:In page 22, between lines 34 and 35, to insert the following:"Amendment of section 177 of Principal Act39. Section 177 of the Principal Act is amended by inserting the following subsection after subsection (3): "(3A) Without prejudice to subsection (3), for the purpose of the performance by the Board of its functions under paragraphs (ba) and (bb) of section 151(1), the Director, under the direction of the Board, shall—(a) cause to be kept on a continuous basis and in a legible or a machine readable form, all proper books and records of account of all income and expenditure of the Board pursuant to those functions,(b) keep and shall account to the Board for all designated tenancy deposit accounts as the Minister or the Board, with the consent of the Minister, may from time to time direct should be kept,and(c) cause to be kept on a continuous basis and in a legible or a machine readable form, and keep and shall account to the Board for, all accounts relating to the holding of interest that, pursuant to section 151(1)(bb), has been withdrawn in accordance with section 177B, from a designated tenancy deposit account.".".Snippet Ref No: PP08600 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet | Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] Amendment agreed to.Snippet Ref No: PP08700 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet | Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] Government amendment No. 90:In page 22, between lines 34 and 35, to insert the following:"Designated tenancy deposit account40. The Principal Act is amended by inserting the following sections after section 177:"177A. (1) The Board shall cause to be maintained one or more bank accounts for the purpose of holding deposits transmitted to it in accordance with this Act (a 'designated tenancy deposit account') for the purpose of the performance by it of its functions under paragraph (ba) of section 151(1).(2) The Board shall cause to be retained in a designated tenancy deposit account all of the following:(a) a deposit transmitted to it in accordance with this Act;(b) interest that accrues on such designated tenancy deposit account until the interest is withdrawn in accordance with section 177B.(3) The Board shall cause a deposit transmitted to it under section 134(3A) to be lodged into a designated tenancy deposit account as soon as practicable following such transmission.(4) The Board shall not cause to be withdrawn any sum from a designated tenancy deposit account unless the withdrawal—(a) is for the purpose of returning a specified deposit to one or both parties in accordance with this Act, or(b) is made in respect of withdrawing interest under section 177B.(5) Without prejudice to section 177, the Board shall cause records of all deposits transmitted to it and lodged in a designated tenancy deposit account to be maintained and shall cause such records to be maintained in a manner that permits a deposit held in a designated tenancy deposit account to be, at all times, attributable to the landlord who transmitted it to the Board and the tenancy to which, and tenant to whom, it relates.(6) For the avoidance of doubt—(a) references in section 177(1) to income and expenditure shall include the income and expenditure arising from the performance by the Board of its functions under paragraphs (ba) and (bb) of section 151(1), and(b) references in section 178(1) to books or other records of account shall include books or other records of account relating to designated tenancy deposit accounts and accounts referred to in section 177(3A)(c).Withdrawal by Board of interest from designated tenancy deposit account177B. (1)The Board shall, for the purposes of the withdrawal of interest from a designated tenancy deposit account, direct the manner in which, and the times at which, interest that has accrued on a designated tenancy deposit account is to be withdrawn from that account and placed in a bank account referred to in subsection (2).(2) The Board shall cause to be maintained one or more bank accounts for the purpose of holding interest that is withdrawn from a designated tenancy deposit account for the purpose of the performance by it of its functions under section 151(1)(bb).".".Snippet Ref No: PP08800 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet | Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] Amendment agreed to.Snippet Ref No: PP09000 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet | Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] Government amendment No. 91:In page 22, between lines 34 and 35, to insert the following:"Amendment of section 180 of Principal Act41. Section 180 of the Principal Act is amended by inserting the following subsection after subsection (4): "(5) Without prejudice to subsections (2) to (4), each annual report shall include the information regarding the holding and return of deposits by the Board specified in subsection (6) and any other information as the Minister may direct.".".Snippet Ref No: PP09100 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet | Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] Amendment agreed to.Snippet Ref No: PP09200 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet | Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] Government amendment No. 92:In page 22, between lines 34 and 35, to insert the following:"Reports to Minister concerning determination of complaints under section 76A42. The Principal Act is amended by inserting the following section after section 180:"180A. (1) Without prejudice to section 180, the Board shall, not later than 6 months after the coming into operation of section 76A, make a report to the Minister in such form as the Minister may approve, on the performance of its functions under that subsection and in respect of the determination of complaints under section 76A and appeals against determinations of those complaints.(2) The Board shall, not later than 6 months after the day on which the report under subsection (1) was made, make a further report to the Minister in respect of the same matters provided for in that subsection.(3) Following the making of the report referred to in subsection (2), the Board shall include in its annual report under section 180 the matters provided for in subsection (1).".".Snippet Ref No: PP09300 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet | Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] Amendment agreed to.Snippet Ref No: PP09400 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet | Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] Section 39, as amended, agreed to.Snippet Ref No: PP09500 ... Edit Snippet | Insert Snippet | Delete Snippet | Insert Heading | Quick Edit [Procedural Text] [Instruction - Yes] Sections 40 to 49, inclusive, agreed to.End of Take

Bill reported with amendments.

Photo of Pat O'NeillPat O'Neill (Fine Gael)
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When is it proposed to take Report Stage?

Photo of Tony MulcahyTony Mulcahy (Fine Gael)
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On Thursday, 19 November 2015.

Report Stage ordered for Thursday, 19 November 2015.

Photo of Pat O'NeillPat O'Neill (Fine Gael)
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When is it proposed to sit again?

Photo of Tony MulcahyTony Mulcahy (Fine Gael)
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At 10.30 a.m. on Wednesday, 18 November 2015.

The Seanad adjourned at 6.55 p.m. until 10.30 a.m. on Wednesday, 18 November 2015.