- Strengthening the complaints system and properly empowering the RTB will help deal with extreme cases –
This afternoon, Fianna Fáil Housing Spokesperson, Darragh O’Brien TD introduced a bill in Dáil Éireann which will extend the capacity of the Residential Tenancies Board to address the anti-social behaviour of some tenants residing in housing estates across the country.
Commenting on the legislation, O’Brien said, “There are too many residents living in housing estates nationwide that feel as though they are being held hostage by a small minority of rogue tenants engaging in anti-social behaviour and in some cases, landlords refusing to properly maintain the exterior of their dwelling.
“As it stands only those immediately affected can make a complaint regarding anti-social behaviour. This often means people are intimated by their neighbour(s) and therefore deterred to submit or pursue a complaint for the matter to be resolved.
“Our bill is aimed at opening up that process so that those affected can request a public or legal representative to make a complaint, thereby avoiding any threat of physical or verbal intimidation.
“Setting out a new obligation for a property owner to maintain the exterior upkeep of the house or dwelling will give neighbours the footing to highlight issues. Allowing piles of unsightly rubbish to build up to potentially attract rodents or leaving a property to fall into disrepair will now both be among the legitimate grounds for complaint.
“The Residential Tenancies Board do not have the power to evict those in extreme circumstances that are known to make the lives of neighbouring residents incredibly difficult. Neither can negligent landlords be fined.
“This bill, which forms part of our broader party policy to address anti-social behaviour, can tackle issues in housing estates head on. Together with new measures such as a Brighter Streets campaign to invest in public lighting and placing a Resident Support Worker in public housing developments will help to address the problems caused the relentless few that engage in anti-social behaviour.
“Ultimately, increasing the Garda presence by boosting both the number of Gardaí on the beat and the resources allocated to them is at the centre of ever having the ability to stamp this behaviour out,” he concluded.