Thursday, 30 May 2019

Questions (163)

Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

163. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his plans in relation to the possible introduction of lifelong tenancies which are being evaluated at present; the details of his remit in relation to same; if impact studies have been carried out to assess the impact the introduction of such a tenancy will have in the immediate future in terms of termination notices in advance of a prescribed date of implementation; his views on whether large-scale property investors will be receptive to such a policy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23080/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

The Residential Tenancies Acts 2004-2016 provide that where a tenant has been in occupation of a dwelling for a continuous period of 6 months, with no valid notice of termination having been served during that time, a 'Part 4' tenancy is established to cover the next 5 years and 6 months.

Section 34 of the 2004 Act provides that a landlord must state a reason for the termination in any tenancy termination notice served, in accordance with the grounds for terminations set out in the table to that section. A Part 4 tenancy may be terminated by a landlord or tenant, without reason, at the end of its term.

A number of measures have been introduced in recent years with the objective of improving security of tenure for tenants. The Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Act 2016 extended the term of Part 4 tenancies from 4 to 6 years, for tenancies commencing on or after 24 December 2016; this delivered on a commitment, in Action 8 of the Government's 2016 Strategy for the Rental Sector, to provide for 6-year tenancies as part of a transition to tenancies of indefinite duration.

The Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 2019 enhances further the security of tenure for tenants by significantly extending the duration of tenancy termination notice periods; for example, a minimum of 180 days (approx. 6 months) notice must be provided by landlords who terminate a tenancy of between 3 and 7 years’ duration. In addition, further measures have been introduced to enhance and enforce tenancy termination provisions, including:

- the application of the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB)'s new investigation and sanctioning regime to improper conduct by a landlord who contravenes the tenancy termination provisions; and

- a new requirement for landlords to copy a tenancy termination notice to the RTB.

The transition to tenancies of indefinite duration is being considered in the context of a further Housing and Residential Tenancies Bill which I will be bringing forward later this year and is expected to be the subject of pre-legislative scrutiny by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Housing, Planning and Local Government in Q4 2019. A Regulatory Impact Assessment will be undertaken by my Department in relation to the Bill, taking into account the views of stakeholders.