Tenements in Dublin City are being returned because of the poor condition of the rented accommodation, Fine Gael TD Paschal Donohoe has claimed.
“Tenants are living in conditions which are beyond sub-standard,” he said. “They are being exploited.”
Some of the accommodation was not fit for human habitation, he told the Dáil, while nearby residents had huge issues over the impact of rented buildings on their localities.
“At times, in extreme cases, there is criminal behaviour coming out of some of these properties.”
He added that while many landlords took their responsibilities seriously, a small number did not, behaving in a rogue fashion and having a negative impact on the environment, the tenants and local residents. This was particularly prevalent in his Dublin Central constituency, he said.
Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton said a working group was considering the matter. She believed the solution, over time, was to have the rent supplement scheme run by local authorities.
The purpose of rent supplement was to provide short-term income support to eligible tenants living in private rented accommodation.
Since 2005, expenditure on the scheme had increased from €399 million to €516 million last year, while the number of recipients had gone up from almost 62,000 six years ago to more than 96,100 this year, she added.
Ms Burton said the responsibility for setting and enforcing housing standards rested with the local authorities. Accommodation occupied by rent supplement tenants should at least meet minimum housing standards, she added.
Mr Donohoe said he had spent Tuesday morning walking with residents along Dublin’s North Circular Road and he had seen “fabulous houses” with walls falling down and windows falling out.
Each of the properties was home to a large number of tenants, he added.