Government announces ban on evicting tenants this winter

Government announces ban on evicting tenants this winter

THE GOVERNMENT has announced an eviction ban for tenants across Ireland this winter.

The Residential Tenancies (Deferment of Termination Dates of Certain Tenancies) Bill 2022 will defer no fault tenancy terminations that are due to occur during the winter months from taking effect until after 31 March 2023.

On 1 April, the government says there will not be a "cliff-edge" as notices of termination which have been issued will begin to take effect on a phased basis depending on a number of factors (i.e. the date the notice was service and the duration of the tenancy) between 1 April and 18 June 2023.

Any notice of termination served during the winter emergency period in respect of tenancies of less than 6 months’ duration also cannot specify a termination date that falls earlier than 18 June 2023.

Announcing the decision today, Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Darragh O'Brien TD said the government was aware of the increasing pressure on homeless services, the limited supply in the rental market and the struggles people are facing over the coming winter months, prompting the move.

"This temporary measure will protect renters who are facing homelessness by deferring and 'no fault' tenancy terminations from taking place this winter."

Where the tenant is at fault, the tenancy can be terminated during the winter subject to the usual notice periods to be given.

Where a tenant wilfully withholds rent or engages in anti-social or criminal behaviour, they will not be protected by the legislation.

The legislation will also cover tenancies in student specific accommodation and student tenancies in the general rental market.

"We will continue with the implementation of Housing for All and significantly increasing the supply of housing in this country," the Minister continued.

"While this emergency measure is necessary and will provide assistance in the short term, the long term answer to our accommodation challenges remains and increased and sustainable supply of new housing," he finished.

Discussing the ban, the Irish Property Owners Association (IPOA) chairperson Mary Conway has described it as an attempt by the Minister for Housing Darragh O'Brien to “feel better” about the housing crisis.

Conway added she felt the proposal would not make much difference and won't prevent evictions this winter.

Chairperson Conway spoke to both Newstalk Breakfast and Morning Ireland, where she confirmed the IPOA is “completely opposed” to the eviction ban.

The Tánaiste Leo Varadkar spoke to reporters in Dublin, confirming that the Irish constitution protects the right to private property, but also acknowledging that these may “as occasion requires” need to be reconciled with the common good.

“In relation to the constitutionality of it, anyone can bring a challenge to the courts, and that may well happen,” Varadkar said.

“Property rights in Ireland are subject to the common good. Bear in mind, properties themselves don’t have rights, the people who hold those properties have certain rights, but they are subject to the common good.

“And if the Attorney General and the Minister believe they can make a strong case to defend it on public interest grounds, then I think any challenge will be unsuccessful.”