“Charging viewing fees for rental properties is outrageous and exploitative. It piles more pressure on struggling renters who are increasingly desperate to secure housing in the midst of a crisis of supply that has reached epidemic proportions.”

The Social Democrats’ Political Director and Spokesperson on Consumer Affairs, Anne Marie McNally, called today for the government to urgently clarify the law so that landlords are banned from charging viewing fees for rental properties.

Ms McNally said:

“Reports of landlords asking for viewing fees for rental properties are becoming more and more common, with Threshold reporting that one woman was told she’d have to pay €500 simply to view a property.

“This practice is outrageous and exploitative. It piles more pressure on struggling renters who are increasingly desperate to secure housing in the midst of a crisis of supply that has reached epidemic proportions.

“The law on extra charges being applied by landlords is in fact very far from clear and needs to be clarified by the government as a matter of urgency. I have also heard of landlords seeking to charge tenants extra for bin collections and car parking. In some cases, it’s clear that these extra fees are being used to bump up rents indirectly, so as to circumvent the current rent caps.

“Quite simply, all sneaky extra charges should be banned. In our Renters’ Charter the Social Democrats commit to introducing much clearer penalties for landlords and agents who solicit viewing fees. We would also impose penalties for people who force prospective tenants to bid on the amount of rent they are willing to pay. In fact, penalties overall for both rogue landlords and rogue tenants are too weak and need to be strengthened.”

ENDS

12th October 2018