Written Answers - Departmental Bodies

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 713 No. 4

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  507.  Deputy Ciarán Lynch  Information on Ciaran Lynch  Zoom on Ciaran Lynch   asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government  Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley   the progress made on the review of the Private Residential Tenancies Act; the operation of the Private Residential Tenancies Board; if approved bodies are to be incorporated within the remit of the Board and the way this would be achieved; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28203/10]

Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government (Deputy Michael Finneran): Information on Michael Finneran  Zoom on Michael Finneran  In April 2009 my Department commenced a review of the provisions of the Residential Tenancies Act 2004, under which the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB) operates. The purpose of this review was to consider whether the Act best supported the PRTB’s key functions and whether legislative amendments would support either the achievement of additional operational efficiencies by the PRTB in the delivery of those functions or the broader good working of the private rented sector.

I announced the preliminary outcomes of the review in November 2009; they include recommendations in a number of key areas, and have an overall emphasis on streamlining and simplifying the Act and reducing delays. Among the main issues that will be addressed by amending legislation are—

a statutory objective of 6 months to be set for the issuing of determination orders arising out of dispute resolution applications,

the Board of the PRTB to be reduced from 15 to 12 members,

the introduction of fixed fines where deposits are illegally retained by landlords,

measures to address non-payment of rent by tenants during a dispute process, in particular to introduce scope for the legal termination of such a tenancy,

[1062]the separation of the governance and quasi-judicial functions of the Board,

the inclusion within the remit of the Residential Tenancies Act of segments of the voluntary and co-operative housing sector that most closely parallel its current remit.

A number of issues requiring further research, including how best to achieve the inclusion within the remit of the Residential Tenancies Act of those segments of the voluntary and co-operative housing sector that most closely parallel its current remit, are being considered in detail. My Department will continue to engage in direct consultation with key stakeholders in this regard.

The Government recently approved the preparation of Heads of a Bill to amend the Residential Tenancies Act 2004 and it is envisaged that the General Scheme of a Bill setting out the detailed proposals arising out of the review will be submitted for Government approval in Autumn 2010.

I have no function in the operational matters of the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB), as it is an independent statutory body established under the Residential Tenancies Act 2004.


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