New legislation was introduced in Ireland back in December 2015 – the Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill . It aimed to help increase the security of private tenants in terms of rent increases etc. (More details here)
One of the promised new features was a Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme – but the details were very bare and no planned implementation date was given.
There has been very litte update on the Deposit Protection Scheme from the Dept of the Environment – and not a lot seems to have happened since December 2015.
The issue was raised by the Labour party in the Dail in June 2017 – but the Taoiseach , Leo Varadkar just said …
“I am afraid the Deputy will have to raise that directly with the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government. I am in general agreement with the Deputy that we should have such a protection scheme in place. It is very important that the deposits which tenants pay are held by an independent body, not by a landlord”
The deposit protection scheme was raised again in the Dail in Jan 2018 by Jan O’Sullivan (Labour) – but all that Eoghan Murphy (Minister for Housing etc) could say was that ..
” I expect that, on foot of the examination of the existing provisions, any necessary legislative changes can be progressed through the Houses of the Oireachtas this year.“
Currently, under section 12 of the Residential Tenancies Act 2004, a landlord is supposed to return or repay promptly any deposit paid by the tenant , subject to compliance by the tenant with provisions regarding: rent arrears ,unpaid bills , damage above normal wear and tear. If a landlord withholds a deposit unjustly, the tenant can bring a dispute to the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB) for resolution.
Under the proposed Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme, landlords will have to lodge tenancy deposits with the PRTB at the same time as they are registering the tenancy. Theplan is that the PRTB will hold these deposits for the duration of the tenancy and will retain the interest generated on the deposit funds towards funding the costs of operating the scheme. At the end of the tenancy, where there is agreement, the deposit will be repaid to the tenant. Where there is disagreement, the parties may apply to the PRTB for dispute resolution.
Update December 2018 : It is looking like that a tenancy deposit protection scheme will probaly not be implemented at all.
In November 2018 the minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government stated ..
“There have been significant changes in the rental market since the 2015 scheme was first envisaged and designed. For example, the draft scheme was originally intended to be financed by the interest payable on deposits lodged; this is no longer viable, given current financial market conditions. Furthermore, it is noteworthy that disputes relating to deposits are no longer the most common dispute type referred to the RTB.”
“Financing the operation of the scheme is an important consideration, particularly in terms of ensuring that the likely outcomes of a new scheme are achieved efficiently and effectively and that the best value from public funds is secured. Careful consideration is therefore required to introduce any necessary reforms and enhancements to the 2015 scheme, with a view to considering whether and how to introduce a re-designed scheme that is fit for purpose and suitable for current and future rental and financial markets.”