Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Questions (62, 82)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

62. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage if he will extend the eviction ban until the end of the Covid-19 pandemic; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38399/20]

View answer

Bríd Smith

Question:

82. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage if he will be extending the ban on evictions at the end of the current level 5 restrictions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38323/20]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 62 and 82 together.

The Residential Tenancies Act 2020 was enacted and came into operation on 24 October 2020 to help mitigate the impact of Covid-19 on tenants and to support the efforts of Government in restricting the movement of people in order to suppress the spread of Covid 19. The Act modifies the operation of the Residential Tenancies Acts 2004-2020 to prevent any notices of termination served by landlords, in all but limited cases such as anti-social behaviour, from taking effect in geographical locations and during periods specified by the Minister for Health in Regulations made by him under section 31A of the Health Act 1947 in respect of which a restriction applies on the movement of people outside a 5 km radius of their place of residence.

The Health Act 1947 (Section 31A - Temporary Restrictions) (Covid-19) (No. 8) Regulations 2020 (S.I. 448 of 2020) came into effect on 22 October 2020 and are expected to expire on 1 December 2020.

The enhanced tenancy protections under the Residential Tenancies Act 2020 are designed to operate when most needed by tenants during times of the most severe restrictions on people's movements. Guidance and Frequently Asked Questions documents - Residential Tenancies and Valuation Act 2020: What this Means for Landlords and Tenants is available on the RTB’s website - www.rtb.ie .

Separately, the provisions of the Residential Tenancies and Valuation Act 2020 which came into effect from 1 August 2020, provide enhanced protections for those tenants who are facing rent arrears due to Covid-19 and, as a result, are at risk of losing their tenancy. If a tenant’s ability to pay rent has been impacted by Covid-19 and the tenant meets specific criteria, new procedures and protections under that Act apply. Tenants who follow these procedures cannot be required to vacate their rental accommodation before 11 January 2021, and are not required to pay any rent increase in respect of the period ending 10 January 2021.

My Department has published a guidance document, the Residential Tenancies and Valuation Act 2020: What this Means for Landlords and Tenants, which sets out exactly what is expected as the rental protections under the Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (Covid-19) Act 2020 expire, and provides details on the new protections for tenants in rent arrears and the income and other supports available to tenants and landlords. This guidance document clearly explains the new rent arrears procedure for both landlords and tenants facing rent arrears. The Guidance document is available on the Department's website - www.housing.gov.ie - and on the RTB's website - www.rtb.ie.