I had a wonderful debate today on Newstalk where we discussed the rental market, Threshold sent in their Chairperson Aideen Hayden. The debate was very informed, in particular Aideen was very sharp in the area of tenancy laws, I learned a lot during this interview.
Naturally there are always a few corrections – she corrected me twice; once on sub-letting and again on a statistic that I took from the PRTB annual report (going so far as to mention that she is on the board of the PRTB and that therefore I was wrong).
Alas, I have to offer a correction in return to a PRTB board member & chairperson of Threshold who is currently undergoing her PhD in Housing and who has a degree in Economics (all of these things were mentioned to me in backing up her argument [on and off air]); see the graph below – taken from page 33 of the PRTB 2009 annual report.
This is not advanced mathematics, just add up the Green and Blue parts of the chart and you get the 65% that I mentioned that I mentioned where part or all of the deposit was kept by the landlord. At the same time her take on the matter was that I was wrong/inaccurate and that in fact in over 70% of cases the deposit is refunded in full or in part.
This is merely taking your figures starting at different ends of the number line.
I did mention this after the show and she still insisted I was giving misleading information and that due to holding a degree in Economics that she didn’t need to converse on the topic any further. My impression of her is that I was both highly impressed with her encyclopaedic knowledge in her field of expertise but dismayed at the lack of engagement when challenged on simple numbers by a practitioner – because the point made was both fair and accurate depending on which side of the fence you read it from – I actually tried to raise this as we were leaving studio (about the blue part of the chart being a crossover in both stat’s) but it was not taken up.
The other correction was when I said that you can’t just sub-let a property, I write this condition is written into leases based upon my interpretation of the 2004 Act. Aideen said that this was not true that you could sublet if you wish. Which brings us to (2004 Act S16 sub section k) Tenant may not assign or sub-let the tenancy without the written consent of the landlord (which consent the landlord may, in his or her discretion, withhold).
My interpretation was that this had to be written into the lease as a clause for them to be able to do it automatically [or they would need permission] - in this case (quoting law) it shows that you cannot just go ahead and do this without consent.
I have to admit, I don’t often walk away from such debates disappointed, in fact they are often a great education (even if it comes at the expense of being wrong a lot of the time!), but Aideen’s statements that my points are wrong/invalid simply do not hold when challenged, and as both a board member of the PRTB and Chairperson of Threshold I would have expected more.