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End Landlord extortionism, drop the rents now!

category national | housing | press release author Sunday May 13, 2012 18:54author by RNU PRO - Republican Network for Unity (RNU) Report this post to the editors

Republican Network for Unity (RNU) notes with increasing concern, the growing practice of what can only be described as extortionism, being carried out by private landlords within working class nationalist areas and beyond.

When observing average rents, it is clear that private landlords here are exploiting historical housing shortages in order to demand amounts well above what is provided by housing benefit.


Republican Network for Unity (RNU) notes with increasing concern, the growing practice of what can only be described as extortionism, being carried out by private landlords within working class nationalist areas and beyond.

When observing average rents, it is clear that private landlords here are exploiting historical housing shortages in order to demand amounts well above what is provided by housing benefit.

These opportunist surcharges are imposed on the understanding that people will dip into their weekly benefits in order to subsidise the profits of private landlords, most of whom live outside of the communities they are exploiting and are unconcerned about the suffering they are creating in return.

Many working class areas are now suffering chronic levels of child poverty of over 60% with an alarming number of schools reporting that children are arriving to class in the morning hungry.

RNU do not believe it is a coincidence that these reports are emerging from the same communities in which landlords are asking unemployed families to dip into benefits which are provided to meet their daily living costs.

In 2012 it is no less than a national disgrace, that it has become culture for a privileged few to come into working class areas, buy off what were once social houses making worse the housing shortage of an already discriminated against community then attempt to cream a profit using the crass rules of a ‘free market’ economy on a homeless population.

We reiterate that housing is a right not a priviliage, and that it is intolerable that working class families (already being penalised by cuts to welfare) can be further plunged into despair and want by this most heartless of practices.

RNU intends in the coming months to launch an effective and if needs be militant campaign aimed at ending this practice of landlord extortionism.

Levels of housing benefit provided to individuals and families reflect the amount which the state believes is a reasonable amount to secure accommodation, we intend to create an environment wherein local landlords too are forced to accept that amount and no more, in the tradition of human rights and the right of a person to secure a roof over their head.

Related Link: http://www.republicannetwork.ie
author by homelesspublication date Sun May 13, 2012 21:52Report this post to the editors

280,000 empty houses, many owned by the state
80,000 on the housing list
many homeless people living and dying on the streets

capitalism works? I don't think so.

rent controls are needed. basic rent chargeable for one room should be pegged to no more than current maximum rent supplement by law.
A large fine should be imposed on those who are overcharging.
there is an imbalanced power relationship between a landlord and a tenant, especially a poor tenant. This needs to be balanced.

However it is not in NAMA's interests that this gets done. In fact, NAMA would like rents to go up to make their property portfolios look more enticing to potential purchasers.

The whole system is totally screwed up. Instead of caring for people, it pushes them out onto the streets even though there are plenty of houses lying vacant.

In fact, the system is so totally screwed up that they would rather spend money bulldozing houses to the ground to keep prices higher rather than letting poor human beings live in them and look after them.

author by Paddy Mc - Lapsed Catholicpublication date Mon May 14, 2012 00:51Report this post to the editors

It takes the PRBT so long to do anything landlords can do what the like so what's the point in having the PRTB unless the step up to the proverial mark?

author by Rational Ecologistpublication date Mon May 14, 2012 16:17Report this post to the editors

If you think about it, it all goes back to keeping the banks' balance sheets artificially inflated. Debt writedown is the only way forward and rents are just another symptom.
PRTB needs more resources. It is good but needs money. No point having laws without enforcement-v v Irish.

author by leftypublication date Tue May 15, 2012 04:27Report this post to the editors

"what's the point in having the PRTB .."

well the government want their little cut from all the landlords for pretending to support tenants rights while in practice keeping the protection body completely toothless so the landlord class continue to get their way as they always have in Ireland while tenants remain at their mercy. Hows that for a reason?

The PRTB landlord registration fees are merely the governments payoff in a landlord protection racket. Good luck getting real justice from the PRTB even if they make a ruling in your favour!! You're talking 5 years + (if ever!) to get a deposit back if blatantly illegally retained by a landlord. Assuming of course that they are willing to pursue the case. Limited resources y'see. Its a recession Y'see. Expensive upper management and politicians public service wage bills to pay y'see. Excuses excuses...But Enda Kenny still gets his 200K+ every year no problem. And his FG cronies get their snouts filled at the trough too without such excuses/problems because, unlike the rest of the public struggling to enforce their basic rights, THEY'RE WORTH IT!

PRTB is part of a government scam, a fake tenant protection agency. The reality is that tenants for the most part have no PROPER protections in Ireland. And landlords and their powerful friends LIKE IT THAT WAY.

For one thing, If the PRTB really cared then it would insist on an escrow system for deposit retention instead of continuing to allow landlords to personally take tenants deposits. Recent cases have highlighted that this system is widely abused.
This money could earn some interest for the PRTB while on deposit and would ensure return of the tenants deposit in a timely fashion at the end of the tenancy, (subject to property being in reasonable order.)

real justice in housing in Ireland would involve connecting the homeless/80,000+ on the housing lists, with the 280,000+ properties lying vacant, many of which are owned by the state and NAMA. However, that might affect rents and housing prices so the government would sooner bulldoze them all to keep house prices higher than house the needy. Even though this move would save the state a huge amount of money in rent supplements paid by the state to unscrupulous landlords for sub standard accomodation.

author by Rational Ecologistpublication date Tue May 15, 2012 09:56Report this post to the editors

Don't overestimate conspiracy and underestimate incompetence when it comes to the PRTB.
It is way too simplistic to make the link between homlessness and lack or not of housing stock. Homelessness is a complex matter, of which provision of physical accommodation is only a part. There are many issues that make it difficult for people to maintain a tenancy, such as difficult landlords, rent, addiction, crime, mental health issues, prison, history of beingin care. If it was only about housing stock-and not that housing stock isn't a very important factor-it would be an easier issue to deal with.

author by leftypublication date Tue May 15, 2012 13:59Report this post to the editors

The ordinary employee working for the PRTB sees nothing wrong but the guys setting it up know they haven't given it the power to properly protect tenants.

Landlords retain their power over tenants, lip service is given to the issue and talk of real solutions that address the issue properly are delayed for another 10-20 years. Nice!

Given that owning your own house defines you in Ireland and the long history relating to landlords in this country, and the large number of vested interests in the propertied classes living off renting property, tell me again this was all by accident?.
These are exactly the kind of people who form the FF/FG "base". Why wouldn't the politicians serve their interests not the tenants?

It's funny that there are so many of these "accidents" in our society and they usually benefit the well connected and more powerful but rarely ever the poor serfs.

I accuse politicians of lots of things but not usually stupidity (ok mary coughlan was an embarrassing exception here!!). but they need a few brain cells to play the game to get elected and they generally aren't completely stupid. However when challenged, they frequently pretend they were "unaware" of pretty much everything. It's usually a lie.

Political parties have a particular ideology and you usually find after they get elected that your society suffers a series of these "accidents" which in each individual case could be down to incompetence but taken as a whole there is a clear drift in the direction of the ideology.

In the case of FF / FG / PD , since they are right wing neo-con corrupt capitalists, the drift is towards more privatisation, less social safety net, more tax loopholes for the rich, lower wages, higher indirect taxes on the poor, low investment in health and infrastructure and state utilities to run them down and make the arguments for a failed public system in order to let private capital cherry pick lucrative areas.
So most of the "accidents" will be furthering these ends. What a surprise, they do indeed.

I don't think thats conspiracy theory. It's not as if they would tell us straight out that they were going to screw the serfs and favour the rich? No. They do it with plausible deniability and they rely on the fact that people are naive and find it hard to believe that politicians could be as corrupt, ruthless and self serving as they actually are.

author by A Dutchman .publication date Mon May 21, 2012 17:14Report this post to the editors

Most Europeans rent their homes affordably.
Legally binding 40+ year agreements bring stability.
Six months rental in Ireland is a joke.
Nobody knows where they are going to go after six months.

author by Landlord.publication date Fri May 25, 2012 22:48Report this post to the editors

I'm a landlord who rents 2 properties as a pension.
What's evil about that?

author by leftypublication date Sat May 26, 2012 08:22Report this post to the editors

"I'm a landlord who rents 2 properties as a pension.
What's evil about that?"

Nothing. What is evil is that your tenants have precious little protection and security if you do decide to act like an asshole towards them. Also if you start screwing them for rents that are unreasonable for the facilities on offer.

What is REALLY evil is that poor people and their families are left mostly at the mercy of strangers for a roof over their heads, meanwhile 280,000 properties lie vacant...

Within the system we are stuck with currently, I would have no problem with a nice decent landlord. However sadly I don't think I have actually met one yet! Maybe power corrupts? And maybe giving landlords the power to destroy the lives of their tenants on a whim brings out the worst in them.

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