12/11/2015

Fianna Fáil Raise Concerns Over Staff Levels At PRTB

Staff levels at the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB) have fallen by almost 50% in the last five years, according to Fianna Fáil.

Spokesperson on environment and local government, Barry Cowen, said that the staff cutbacks were revealed by figures obtained by Fianna Fáil through parliamentary questions.

Deputy Cowen said that the reductions were a concern at a time when the number of people in the private rental sector was rising.

"Over 300,000 households are currently renting privately in Ireland. These households rely on the PRTB to provide information relating to tenancy arrangements and act as a mediator when disputes arise," Deputy Cowen said.

"Figures I have obtained through parliamentary questions show that staff numbers in the PRTB have dropped from 65 in 2010 to just over 30 in 2014. The Government has essentially halved the number of people working in the PRTB despite more and more people relying on the services it provides. It's a ridiculous situation.

"Minister Kelly has signalled that the PRTB is to take on a whole raft of new responsibilities following his disastrous handling of the housing crisis. Speaking on national radio this morning the Minister encouraged tenants to avail of the services provided by the PRTB. However he has failed to allocate any additional resources to the PRTB. As a result of this the likelihood of his cobbled together plan succeeding is slim.

"The scale of the challenge facing the PRTB is massive. The rental sector doubled in size between 2006 and 2011 from 9.5% to 19.5% of the overall residential market. The use of mediation services has increased by 73% since 2008, when 1,650 requests for dispute resolution were received. In 2013 some 2,861 such requests were received.

"Both tenants and landlords who have had to use the services offered by the PRTB all tell a similar story as to how they have to wait months on end to get a satisfactory outcome. Minister Kelly's recent announcement will only add to the delay people are experiencing given his failure to allocate the necessary resources to the PRTB.

"Minister Kelly needs to spell out just how exactly he expects the PRTB to take on the additional workload considering the massive staff cutbacks it has experienced in recent years."

(MH/CD)

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