Labour TD Robert Dowds has called on the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB) to dramatically improve its effectiveness in dealing with anti-social tenants or else be abolished as another quango.
Based on numerous cases which he has been involved in, Dowds said the PRTB was completely failing to tackle the scourge of anti-social tenants in private rented accommodation, was failing to come down on the side of the ordinary law-abiding residents and that it was putting people who sought to tackle anti-social behaviour at grave risk.
“One of the functions of the PRTB is to deal with anti-social behaviour by anti-social tenants in private rented houses, and in that responsibility it is failing to be in any way effective.
“The current PRTB system for dealing with anti-social behaviour actually discourages ordinary law abiding people from coming forward about anti-social behaviour, as they must reveal their identity if they wish to make a complaint about the behaviour of one of their neighbours. In a significant number of cases, there are threats of violence and intimidation which discourages people from coming forward, emboldens those engaging in anti-social behaviour and forces those living with neighbours from hell to continue to suffer in silence.
“If a decent resident is confronted with anti-social tenants who are, for example, involved in drug pushing, then they can have very good reason to fear for their safety.
“The PRTB does not allow for situation where a proxy such as a public representative or a member of the Gardaí can make a complaint on behalf of distressed residents. If they are serious about tackling thuggery and vandalism in private estates, then they should allow for this.
“The PRTB’s track record in this area is appalling. In one case which came to my attention recently, the PRTB accepted that an anti-social tenant who had been causing mayhem should be evicted. However, they did not have the resources to do the job, meaning that the mayhem, fear and intimidation for decent residents continues to this day.
“In this particular case, the individual concerned has assaulted a Garda and there are strong grounds for other residents to fear what might happen next. The failure of the PRTB is actually putting ordinary residents at risk.
“In this context, I am asking the new Minister for Housing Jan O’Sullivan to examine whether the PRTB is an entity worth maintaining and to swiftly introduce legislation which effectively deals with anti-social tenants and residents who make life hell for their neighbours.”