Landlords Unlawfully Evict Tenants

What is affected
Housing private
Type of violation Forced eviction
Date 01 January 2007
Region E [ Europe ]
Country Ireland
Location country-wide?

Affected persons

Total 140
Men 0
Women 0
Children 0
Proposed solution
Forced eviction

Duty holder(s) /responsible party(ies)

By Breda Heffernan

Wednesday October 08 2008

TEN people each week are threatened illegally with eviction as renters continue to be squeezed by rising living costs.

Last year, more than 140 people were unlawfully evicted from their homes, with some forced to sleep in cars and sheds after landlords changed the locks to their properties and dumped tenants` belongings on the side of the road.

Another 533 people were threatened with being evicted illegally in 2007 and this figure seems certain to rise as the recession and economic crisis push up living costs, hitting people on low incomes hard, according to Threshold, the national housing organisation.

"Illegal evictions can involve a landlord changing the locks, intimidating a tenant out of their home, or throwing out and destroying a tenant`s belongings," said Threshold chairperson Aideen Hayden as she launched the body`s annual report in Dublin yesterday.


"Some [evictions] involve tense stand-offs lasting hours or even days, which are distressing for tenants and frightening for their children.

"We meet people who have been forced to sleep in cars or sheds. Families come to us who have lost all their personal belongings, including children`s clothes, family photographs and legal documents," she added.

Ms Hayden called on landlords to stop and think before they took the law into their own hands and reminded them that it was "absolutely unlawful" to lock someone out of a rented property with or without their belongings. She said landlords who had a grievance should resolve disputes through the Private Residential Tenancies Board.

She added: "There is now a serious affordability crisis in the rented sector for people on low incomes. Over the course of 2007, we saw landlords under pressure to meet mortgage payments seeking rent increases or higher-paying tenants.

"At the same time, tenants on low incomes struggled because of reduced employment opportunities, rising living costs and increased competition for affordable rented accommodation."

Ms Hayden said even the most basic bedsit in Dublin cost €600 per month, which was beyond the means of a person on a low income.

She called on the Government to take a number of steps to alleviate the "affordability crisis" in the private rented sector, including extending Rent Supplement to workers on low incomes who need help with housing costs.

"Measures such as the Rental Accommodation Scheme -- where local authorities contract with private owners for rented properties at a fixed price -- should also be extended to cover those on low incomes who are working for a living. Affordable purchase plans, such as the recently announced Incremental Purchase Scheme to help those whose incomes fall between €20,000 and €30,000 per annum, must also be aimed at the working poor," she added.

Meanwhile Threshold has called for a new "NCT for housing" to be introduced where landlords would have to obtain a certificate to show that the accommodation had been modernised to meet minimum fire and safety standards.

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