There may be close to 2,000 evictions that won’t be in the papers. There will be no pictures of people being forced from the home their families occupied for generations, no in depth story, little empathy and worst of all, it’s something that hurts people who are entirely innocent.
What we are talking about is the ‘move out’ letters people are getting from banks that appoint receivers and in particular the ones that are becoming commonplace when rent receivers are appointed.
The ‘broke landlord’ is unlikely to receive much in the way of empathy from anybody, this is why receivers are being sent in on investment properties rapidly while repossessions and executions on family homes are so much slower to occur, but that misses the point, we have made one process ‘slow’ to protect families, while allowing the other to be quick to ‘get landlords’ but really all we are doing is ‘getting families’ who are affected and showing them an entirely different duty of care.
It isn’t that an investment property doesn’t house a family the same as a bought property does, it’s just that one tenure is based on a mortgage (we are talking about the less than 50% of houses with a lending lien on them) the other is based upon a tenancy as set out in the 2004 Act.
What many people fail to realise as banks pursue this route is that the knock on effect can be rather large for more people than just the landlord concerned. Today we’ll look at some of the facts and figures surrounding this and it will help to demonstrate that some of the negative effects are both intentionally targeted at, and carried, by innocent bystanders who we simply won’t come to the defence of because they are not ‘landed owners’, in a way it has the hallmarks of some issues this country had 100 years ago.
Tenants enter into tenancies in good faith, they pay a deposit and expect a home of reasonable quality. That quality is set out in the updated standards in rental accommodation.
- Thus far 2000 rental properties have had rental receivers appointed to them by Dec 2013 with 250 more expected by Jan 2014. Over half are from Bank of Ireland alone. The Dàil query on it didn’t include some of these.
- There are over 40,000 BTL properties in arrears of 3 months or more.
The main issue for the non-borrowers affected (the tenants) is that there is virtually no resource to help them, this isn’t any guidelines by the Department of the Environment, the PRTB doesn’t mention it, it isn’t covered by the Tenancy Act 2004.
About the only resource is one from the Irish Banking Federation which basically says ‘pay the banks’ and doesn’t offer much assistance beyond that.
A receiver is a common solution banks use for BTL arrears and few mention the problems such as
- Deposits: A rent deposit can be the same as 1/10th of a mortgage deposit, when a receiver comes in the renter is now an ‘unsecured creditor’ meaning they will probably never get their money back and complaints to the PRTB will be the least of the landlords concerns so when the receiver comes you can pretty much kiss your deposit goodbye. The receiver is not liable and in cases where we saw them agree to pay it back it was on condition that the person leave before their tenancy expires!
- Receivers have no legal obligation to carry out repairs, technically that still lies with the landlord, and the tenancy and associated conditions are still between the parties who contracted for it.
- Notice periods are also being periodically ignored, most people will have between 28-35 days at a minimum. Receivers are also more prone to want to sell the now demanded ‘family homes’ which often uproot one family in favour of another.
- Then there are the ‘voluntary sale’ versions where the landlord gives short notice due to a ‘bank lead sale’ and in this instance it can be very easy (functionally) to end a lease early.
The people being affected aren’t making headlines, if the banks were taking homes back from people who couldn’t pay they’d be all over the front pages, but these are merely renters, they can move on can’t they? These are merely people who pay in full for their housing month after month, empathy wise they are in no better position than the landlord it seems.