Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Questions (580)

John McGuinness

Question:

580. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if there is a backlog of applications from auctioneers (details supplied) to the Property Services Regulatory Authority; and his plans to increase the staff numbers on a temporary basis to clear the backlog. [8697/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

The Property Services Regulatory Authority was formally established on 3 April 2012 pursuant to the Property Services (Regulation) Act 2011. Under the 2011 Act, any person wishing to engage in the provision of property services must get a licence from the Authority. The types of property service for which a licence is required are: the auction of property other than land; the purchase or sale of land (including buildings or structures on land); the letting of land; and property management services. Section 99 of the 2011 Act provides that persons, who were lawfully providing a property service prior to the coming into effect of the new licensing system on 6 July 2012, could continue to provide such property services pending a determination of their licence application by the Authority.

The initial licensing process has been protracted because a very significant proportion of applications were submitted to the Authority with incomplete information or inadequate supporting documentation, requiring extensive correspondence with applicants. However, I am advised by the Authority that in the majority of cases, the applicant has been advised of a decision to either grant or refuse a licence.

My Department will be making a request to the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform for an increase in the personnel assigned to the PSRA, on receipt of a business case based on the outcome of the first licensing round. In the meantime, my Department will continue to monitor the staffing resources available to the Authority to ensure that it is in a position to fulfil its statutory responsibilities.