Councils around the country cannot effectively deal with tenants who engage in serious anti-social activity because the Government has delayed in providing new laws.
A ruling in the Supreme Court in February, 2012, found that the then legal procedures for eviction were not in keeping with the European Convention on Human Rights. Since then, Councils have been in a legal limbo on how to handle seriously disruptive tenants. The law needs to be updated so that the sanction of eviction is open to Councils.
I raised the issue in the Dáil this week with Housing Minister Jan O’Sullivan. The Minister said that her Department is working on new legislation but was unable to say when the new legislation would be ready.
People living on Council estates with problem neighbours can’t wait any longer. The vast majority of Council tenants are law-abiding people and they have human rights too. They shouldn’t have to put up with anti-social neighbours who make their lives hell.
Councils have been in a legal limbo since February of last year. Council officials tell me that in many cases effectively their hands are tied if they want to pursue an eviction. Evictions should be, and in my experience are, very much the sanction of last resort but the option needs to be there as a deterrent. The lack of legislation makes it very difficult for Council officials to deal effectively with problem tenants because at the moment, such tenants know they can continue to get away with it.
Problem tenants shouldn’t have a licence to run riot and make life hell for everyone else in their community. It’s just not good enough that the Department has known about the problem for over a year but has not yet produced any remedy.