Landlord statistics are wrong…. depending on how you read them!

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 kTenant 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.


  1. Josephine B

    Karl. You a e so funny!m I am also always entertained by academics who cannot be told by anyone . It says so much about them. I see so many people with very advanced degrees like PhD’s but they are financially poor. You know that anyway!

  2. Hi Josephine,

    To be fair I am a big fan of academics, but when you get told that you are flat out ‘wrong’ as I was you only make your situation worse by saying ‘I know I’m right’ so sometimes you have to rest in the knowledge that you weren’t and get on with things!

    Thanks for commenting, come back again soon!

  3. N. Kelly

    I thought she was doing a great job when I listened into the show, but then seeing this information it seems she didn’t have a clue and was more concerned with saying that you were wrong than with making sure the truth got out.

    She did herself and PRTB a dis-service, like you said, sometimes you have to be happy to be right but not everybody gets to know that


  4. Hi Noel,

    I got two visitors! Things must be looking up! lol…

    To be honest I would rather have had the chance to illuminate the point with the listeners involved rather than try to justify it afterwards, I had read the stats and checked them before going in (I research everything before I do any show) but didn’t print off the page so I couldn’t source it definitively when asked, that was a mistake.

    Won’t happen again!

  5. bazzer88

    agree wit Noel, when she says it on the main clip it sounds like you are getting blasted out of it. But when you see the figure in real life n listen back u realise she is just a person who can’t admit she is wrong or even willing to consider a different view. Why should she care? On the board of a few quangos and paid by d state for a living?

    Keep it up Karl, you are about d last honest person in the press

  6. @baz lol, I’m not often right but I am often honest! Doing my best, and I’m glad that there are folks out there who appreciate it. I don’t think Threshold is a quango btw – just to keep the argument fair!

    come by again soon!

  7. Ronan

    On the first issue, it is essentially financial innumeracy. Sadly, I am not surprised that someone seeking a PHD should be so ignorant.

    On the second issue you are correct again, but I have a feeling Aideen may have failed to communicate her point accurately, or else again she is misinformed or got muddled up on air (I haven’t been able to actually listen to the recordings!).

    My reading of the (atrocious) RTA 2004, is that no, you can’t just sub-let. But if you find someone to sub-let to and the landlord refuses the request, as they are entitled to do as you note, then you can servce notice of termination of your lease agreement. This is the “out” most tenants are after, and is covered in section 186 (2) of the RTA 2004. But you remain factually correct – for an actual sub-let to occur requires the landlord’s consent.


  8. Ronan

    I don’t know how the word “financial” got into my opening sentence 🙂

  9. @Ronan,

    I sure do wish you were there on the day! If you want to hear the clip I mentioned they are embedded in the blog-post, or you can get the soundfile on the right, at the moment it’s the top one (see the description) from August 30th. Thanks for coming by and commenting!
    see ya round’ here again soon I hope

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