As the discussion around tenants’ rights and housing regulations intensifies, the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) has recently put forward a series of recommendations aimed at addressing the issue of illegal evictions. While these recommendations have been hailed as essential protections for tenants, it is crucial to examine them from a reasonable perspective, taking into account the potential implications for landlords, prior to any implementation.
The RTB’s recommendations include the introduction of trained illegal eviction facilitators at the RTB, classifying illegal eviction as improper conduct by landlords, imposing significant fines for carrying out such ‘illegal evictions’, and granting powers to an Gardaí to arrest without a warrant those involved in such actions. This is worth repeating, despite not having any real sanctions to deal with non-payment of rent or destruction of property by tenants, landlords will be subject to arrest on site. The Irish Times has covered this well this week, noting political opposition’s support for the recommendations.
While the goal of protecting tenants from illegal evictions is commendable, it is essential to evaluate the feasibility and potential consequences of these recommendations. One area of concern is the introduction of trained illegal eviction facilitators. This approach assumes that landlords are inherently predisposed to engage in illegal activities. It is essential to remember that the vast majority of landlords operate within the confines of the law and should not be treated as potential criminals.
Furthermore, the proposal to issue significant fines for illegal evictions raises questions about the fairness and proportionality of such penalties. While it is important to deter illegal practices, imposing excessive fines may disproportionately burden landlords, especially in cases where an eviction may be justified due to non-payment of rent or breaches of lease agreements. Striking a balance between protecting tenants and ensuring landlords’ rights is imperative to maintain a fair and functioning rental market.
The recommendation to grant powers to an Gardaí to arrest individuals involved in illegal evictions without a warrant also warrants careful consideration. While it is essential to prevent unlawful acts, it is equally important to uphold due process and protect individuals from potential abuse of power. Allowing warrantless arrests in eviction cases could open the door to unintended consequences, such as false accusations or unnecessary confrontations between landlords and law enforcement.
Addressing illegal evictions requires a comprehensive and balanced approach that takes into account the rights and responsibilities of both tenants and landlords. While the RTB’s recommendations focus primarily on tenant protection, it is crucial to ensure that any new legislation or measures do not unduly burden landlords or discourage investment in the rental market. We have long called for a balance of fairness and these recommendations do not reflect any such balance.
Lotus Investment Group