A company called Father Jack Ltd is among a group of landlords who have been sanctioned by a regulator for violating rent pressure zones (RPZ) over the past 12 months.
Despite hundreds of investigations by the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB), there were only 35 sanctions against landlords for non-compliance with rent pressure zones.
RTB has launched 400 investigations into alleged improper conduct by landlords since it was empowered to do so in 2019, 115 of them in the past 12 months.
Of the 400 cases, only 60 (15 percent) resulted in sanctions. Details of 38 of the cases have been released by the RTB, with the remainder to be announced once the relevant appeal deadlines and administrative procedures have been completed.
There were 35 sanctions for violating the RPN, one for failing to return a lease to a tenant when they were required to do so, and four landlords were fined for failing to register a lease.
Eleven of the sanctions were imposed on one landlord alone.
Propmaster Ventures Limited, whose registered office is at Slaney Road, Dublin Industrial Estate, Dublin 11, has been ordered to pay in excess of €14,000 for moving rents on residential properties across Dublin.
Brothers Alan and Norman Prendergast, owners of furniture company Bargaintown, are also directors of Propmaster.
Some private landlords received sanctions of between 1,000 and 2,500 euros, others less.
Michael J. Wright, owner of the Wright Bar Group, was also among the landlords found in violation.
Mr Wright, who owns an apartment in the Raven Hall complex on Main Street in Swords, was fined €700 for failing to meet RPN requirements.
The two bedroom apartment is currently for sale at €295,000.
In 2019, RTB found that Mr Wright and his wife Kim had served an invalid rent increase on a tenant who had rented property in Ashton Court, Swords.
The RTB also declared that the termination was ineffective and ordered that the tenant should continue to pay the rent of 1,300 euros a month.
A company called Father Jack Limited, based in Brittas in Dublin, was fined €539 for an RPZ breach at a property in Sundale Park, Tallaght.
The company’s business description states that it specializes in amusement and leisure activities.
Father Jack Ltd. reimbursed the tenants for the additional rent they had been charged. Its current director was not a director when the sanction was imposed.
Fourteen of the landlords received written warnings and a sanction, while another 14 received only a written warning. The fines totaled €31,240.
At this time, the investigative unit of the RTB cannot investigate cases involving the withholding of deposits or standards and the maintenance of real estate.
Social Democrat TD Cian O’Callaghan said the RTB must be given more powers.
“It’s really unacceptable that a large number of landlords who have violated tenancy laws have gotten away with just a written sanction,” he said.
“The RTB needs more power and stronger teeth. My office has dealt with cases where the RTB failed to investigate a serious matter because the tenant did not know the landlord’s address. That’s just not good enough.”
A spokesman for RTB said the Covid-19 pandemic had “seriously affected” the process.
“The RTB has a number of cases at different stages of the process,” they said.
“It is important to note that the 60 sanctions confirmed by the end of May 2022 do not reflect the number of sanctions imposed so far in the investigative process by decision-makers, nor do they provide a representative sample of the level or type of sanctions that will be confirmed in due course.”
Michael Wright and Propmaster Ventures have been approached for comment.
https://www.independent.ie/business/personal-finance/property-mortgages/father-jack-ltd-among-firms-given-sanctions-for-breaching-rent-pressure-zones-41826434.html ‘Father Jack Ltd’ among firms sanctioned for exceeding rental pressure zones