GOVERNMENT APPROVES SERIES OF EMERGENCY MEASURES TO PROTECT TENANTS DURING COVID 19 CRISIS

On 19th March 2020, the Government met and approved emergency measures to help tenants who have been affected by the Covid 19 crisis. Many businesses have been forced to close their doors suddenly to comply with HSE guidelines on combatting the Covid 19 crisis.  Renters are worried about being able to pay their monthly rent and keeping their home when they suddenly have no income.

In order to assist renters, the following emergency measures have been announced for the duration of the Covid 19 emergency:-

  • A moratorium or ban on evictions and rent increases to ensure people can remain in their homes during the crisis;
  • Notice to Quit time period has been extended from 28 days to 90 days for tenancies of less than 6 months.

Housing Minister, Mr Eoghan Murphy, intends to publish legislation next week to amend the Residential Tenancies Act 2004 to 2019 and give effect to these changes.

However, tenants are still expected to pay their rent during this period and for those struggling to make payments, there are rent supplements available from Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection. Tenants should also contact their landlords directly to advise them of the difficulties being experienced.  Landlords have been asked to “show forbearance and reach local arrangements” by the Department of Housing.

The assistance to Renters coincides with banks offering a three month mortgage break, which will include buy to let properties, and landlords are expected to pass this flexibility on to their tenants who are in difficulty at the present time in paying their rent.

With the announcement of the closure of all colleges and universities, many third level students find themselves in a position where their lease or rental agreement does not expire until the end of the semester but they no longer require the accommodation given the early closure of colleges and universities around the country. For those living on campus, you should speak to the accommodations department in your college/university directly.  For those living off campus and are renting from a private landlord, you should review your tenancy agreement – there may be a clause providing for a situation when college accommodation is no longer required during a semester.  I would also recommend you liaise directly with your landlord to discuss the situation.

These emergency measures are only in place during the Covid 19 crisis, after which residential tenancies will revert to current legislative provisions.

If you have any queries or would like further information, please contact Gillian Butler of Keating Connolly Sellors Solicitors on 061 414 355 or gbutler@sellors.ie

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