The Residential Tenancies Board are dealing with four to five cases of illegal evictions every week.
This is according to their director Rosalind Carroll who was speaking to RTE Radio’s Morning Ireland programme today to coincide with the release of the latest RTB rent index which shows average rent for new tenancies rose 7% per cent in the third quarter of 2017.
The index also revealed that rents are now higher nationally than they were at their peak during the property boom.
Here in Dublin the average rent paid was €1,518 (up from €1,382 last year) with the average in the greater Dublin area (Meath, Wicklow and Kildare) at €1,086 (up from €1,020).
Rosalind Carroll said this morning that the rent increases are alarming.
“That’s a lot of money to be paying in the market.
“This is a measure of new tenancies, this isn’t a reflection of what’s happening with existing tenancies within the market.
“Landlords increasing rents incorrectly continues, we’ve seen 133 per cent increase in the number of rent review disputes about whether the notice period was correct.
“It could be a dispute about whether 4 per cent was correct, we are finding in general that most of those are wrong.
“We need to go out and make sure landlords are doing the right thing across a number of ranges.
“We want more people to take cases, because we’re coming off a low base in terms of the number of cases coming to us.
“We’re still looking at only 400 cases per annum.”
Carroll said that while most cases are usually resolved with the landlord without the parties having to go to court, last Friday the RTB did go to court to get an emergency injunction to halt an illegal eviction.
“We are working on a legal framework with the Department, primary legislation requires the Minister to bring that forward.
“The most serious type of case that comes to the RTB are illegal evictions where some one went in and changed the locks
“We’re seeing four to five of those per week.
“Most of those we resolve informally, we call the landlord and they don’t end up in the court process, but where they do end up coming in to us, the most significant amount of damage in past month was €15,000.
“We would never support the idea that you can go in and change the locks.
“That’s why the RTB was established in the first place, so there was a protection there and that the law wasn’t taken into your own hands.”
The RTB is also launching a new awareness campaign aimed at both tenants and landlords.