Sinn Féin spokesperson on Housing Eoin Ó Broin has expressed “serious concern over the loss of vital protection for renters.”
His comments were made in advance of the Oireachtas consideration of the Residential Tenancy and Valuation Bill 2020 due before the Dáil on Tuesday.
Teachta Ó Broin said: “This week the Government will seek to pass the Residential Tenancies and Valuation Bill 2020. The Bill replaces the ban on evictions, notices to quit and rent increases introduced last March.
“The new Renters Bill provides a limited protection from eviction and rent increases to renters who have lost income due to Covid-19 and who submit a written declaration to their landlord and the Residential Tenancies Board.
“However if the Bill passes in its current form, it will see the removal of all other protections from renters.
“Landlords will again be able to issue vacant possession notices to quit or implement such notices that were served before March 27th. These notices have been the single biggest cause of family homelessness in recent years.
“The March 27th ban on evictions has resulted in a dramatic reduction in the number of families presenting as homeless. Ending this ban will inevitably result in an increase in families presenting as homeless.
“The general ban on rent increases introduced in the March legislation will also come to an end. This will see many hard pressed renters, already paying excessive rents, facing further rent increases. This is simply unacceptable.
“I am also concerned with the process by which Covid-19 income-affected renters are to secure the limited protections in the Renters Bill.
“Many renters, particularly those with language, literacy or capacity issues, may not be able to engage with the written declaration process. As a result, they could lose their entitlement to the protections.
“Sinn Féin will be tabling significant amendments to Minister Darragh O’Brien’s Renters Bill. Our support for the legislation will be dependent on the Minister listening to our concerns and accepting the need to strengthen the Bill.”