July 24, 2020
Renters Bill in need of substantial amendment – Eoin Ó Broin TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Housing, Eoin Ó Broin TD, has described the Residential Tenancies and Valuation Bill 2020 as cumbersome legislation in need of substantial amendment and expressed concerns it may contain significant loopholes which landlords could exploit. 

Teachta Ó Broin said:

“The Residential Tenancies and Valuation Bill 2020 published today is cumbersome, complicated and in need of substantial amendment. I am also concerned that it may contain significant loopholes that rogue landlords could use to evict tenants unfairly.

“On the surface it appears to provide protection to tenants affected by Covid-19 income loss with an extended ban on evictions until January 10th2021. However, this would require the tenant to submit a written declaration to the landlord and Residential Tenancies Board. 

“It is not clear whether tenants who don’t have the ability or capacity to submit such a statement will get the additional protection.

“The Bill also provides for a ban on rent increases until January 2021, however it is not clear whether this applies to all tenancies or just those who have lost income due to Covid-19. It would be deeply unfair to allow rent increases on hard pressed renters without rent arrears.

“Confusingly, the Bill includes a separate rent related notice to quit provision allowing for 28 day evictions, presumably for tenants not covered by the Covid-19 provisions. Does this mean that a tenant in arrears due to Covid-19 income loss but who has not submitted a written declaration to their landlord or RTB or who is not in receipt of a Covid19 related payment could be evicted after 28 days?

“My reading of the Bill indicates that all other grounds for issuing Notices to Quit, such as use by landlord, use by a family member, sale of property or substantial refurbishment, can now be issued. Given the cumbersome nature of the mechanisms in place I am concerned that some rogue landlords may opt for these simpler means to get their tenant out. 

“This is a significant piece of legislation. Oireachtas members urgently need a detailed meeting with Departmental officials on Monday to tease through the Bill’s impact on both landlords and tenants. Sinn Féin wants to ensure that tenants affected by Covid-19 are protected and that rent increases are not permitted for any tenant. 

“We will work with the Minister to achieve these objectives but cooperation is a two way street and the Minister must listen to constructive suggestions from the opposition and be willing to amend the Bill where appropriate.”

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