Deposits will treble for bills, say landlords
LANDLORDS are up in arms over plans to make them keep a tenant's deposit until they are satisfied water charges are paid.
Fintan McNamara of the Residential Landlords Association said they hope to meet the Environment Minister again and will be seeking changes.
He said the system was unfair and unduly complicated and will mean higher deposits for tenants.
"If this is to work effectively the deposit has to be trebled," Mr McNamara said. He added that it looks like landlords could end up footing the water charge bill if tenants do not pay.
But Government officials said there should be no need for increased deposits and that the obligation will in due course be taken over by the Private Residential Tenancies Board.
The row comes as Tanaiste Joan Burton has come under pressure over plans to deduct unpaid utility bills, including water charges, from wages and especially from welfare.
Fianna Fáil's Billy Kelleher described the proposals as draconian.
"Where has Labour's basic decency gone? You are making an arm of the State into a debt collection agency for a utility company with no ability-to-pay clause," he said.
Mr Kelleher said Ms Burton's legacy is recent figures which show 1,000 children are living in emergency accommodation in Dublin.
But the Labour leader countered that Mr Kelleher was part of a Fianna Fail government which cut welfare payments by €17-per-week, reduced the minimum wage by €1-per-hour and also presided over economic destruction.
For Sinn Fein, Mary Lou McDonald accused the Coalition of introducing a "sneaky" package of measures that will push hard-pressed families into further poverty.
She also referred to a report of a speech delivered by Finance Minister Michael Noonan during which he claimed some unemployed people are "allergic" to work asking him to desist from insulting and condescending language towards people outside of work".