Many renters ‘afraid of retaliation by landlord’ if they raise issues, charity warns

Many renters feel afraid to highlight problems with their tenancy because they fear retaliation from their landlord, a housing charity has warned.

Threshold spoke to two dozen renters in Dublin, Cork and Galway who have had problems with their tenancies.

It has found tenants will put up with “serious breaches” of the law or their tenancy rights before taking action.

Dr Aideen Hayden, chair of Threshold, told Newstalk Breakfast the results show many feel there is a “very significant power asymmetry” between landlords and tenants.

She explained: “In other words, the power generally lies quite firmly on the side of the landlord, and that this has quite a significant impact on the behaviour of tenants.

“We find that tenants – for the sake of arguments, who are facing challenges such as unlawful rent increase or difficulty with their accommodation – are unwilling to take action, even though the law would be on their side, because they are afraid of retaliatory action by the landlord.

“It isn’t surprising, and part of the reason we embarked on this research is because we’re aware of it.”

Dr Hayden said that while there are legal protections against eviction, there are also “very significant powers on the side of the landlord to terminate a tenancy”.

The charity is now renewing their calls for “indefinite tenancies” – suggesting that some of the reasons allowing terminations of tenancy need to be removed from law.

Dr Hayden said that rented properties are homes for many people living in them, but we’re not treating the properties as if they are homes.

She observed: “We want to see two things: the ending of arbitrary evictions, and we also this whole situation where people are retaliated against looked at a lot more closely by the Residential Tenancies Board.”

Main image: File photo. Picture by Sephelonor from Pixabay