Fianna Fail Housing Spokesperson Barry Cowen TD has introduced a new Bill in the Dáil to strengthen protection for tenants.

The ‘Residential Tenancies (Residential Tenancies Board) (Amendment) Bill 2018’ gives the RTB the power to initiate its own investigations into rogue landlords or other issues in the rental sector.

Deputy Cowen said, “Some 325,000 households are currently renting from private accommodation. With rents soaring at a rate of 11.2% per annum, more and more people are being placed under massive financial pressure just to hold onto accommodation. This has led to reduced standards for many tenants as their landlords know they are desperate to remain in their accommodation.

“The RTB has a central role to play in upholding standards and protecting tenants. This Bill gives it the power to undertake investigations on its own initiative into suspected breaches of the law in the rental sector.

“We need a strong, well-resourced RTB to ensure people in the rental sector are fully protected. This Bill expands the powers of the RTB so that it can look into suspected problems or issues on its own initiative rather than wait on an explicit complaint or direction. An empowered RTB with a wide ranging remit is important in ensuring we set and protect standards in the growing rental sector.

“For example, issues around overcrowding or failure to uphold the Rent Pressure Zone limits would be all eligible topics for the RTB to look into on its own initiative. This will help to create an effective regulator in the sector that affects almost half a million people across the country. I am looking forward to debating the Bill at 2nd stage in the coming weeks and am asking all parties to support it,” concluded Deputy Cowen.