Words: Ellen Kenny
More and more landlords are being reported to have mould, rotting floors and broken heating in their properties.
The price of rent might be going up, but that quality of what you’re renting is going down. Dublin City Council’s environmental health officers (EHOs) issued 2,029 improvement letters to private landlords in the first six months of 2022.
To put this in perspective, the Council issued 2,098 notices in the entirety of 2021. They issued 1,761 notices in the entirety of 2020.
The Residential Tenancies Board also reported a sharp increase in disputes between tenants and landlords who have not properly maintained their property. In the first quarter of the year, there were 528 disputes. In the same time period last year, there were 338 disputes.
The tenants’ rights charities Threshold also saw a rise in complaints about the quality of rental properties. So far this year, the charity has supported 579 tenants. It supported 1,569 tenants seeking repair and maintenance works last year, compared with 1,269 in 2020 and 1,092 in 2019.
The most common issue is damp and mould, followed by structural issues, broken heating systems and inadequate bathroom facilities.
You might be one of the tenants dealing with damp, mould and an uncompromising landlord. You may fear the repercussions of complaining.
If you make a complaint about the quality of your apartment to the RTB, your landlord will be informed that you made a complaint. Your landlord, though, has absolutely no right to penalise you for this. They can’t try to increase your rent without a 90 day’s notice, they can’t evict you. They can only accept the complaint and any possible investigations.
If a landlord tries to intimidate you after you make a complaint, you can also bring this to the RTB to strengthen your case.
If you decide to withdraw your complaint from the RTB, the RTB will not inform your landlord that you complained at all. But the RTB may carry out an investigation anyway if they think there is good enough reason to do so. In this situation, the RTB will not inform the landlord you made a complaint.
So if you present a strong enough complaint to the RTB that warrants investigation, and then withdraw said complaint, your landlord will not know you made the complaint.
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