Tuesday, 14 December 2021
Residential Tenancies (Amendment) (Extension of Notice Periods) Bill 2021: Second Stage [Private Members]
It is a terrible indictment of the Government's housing policies in general that so many people are living a hair's breadth from being made homeless. People's lives are so finely balanced that it would not take much to tip them into homelessness. In the rental sector this has become even more prevalent with so many landlords leaving the market at present. Recent data from the Residential Tenancies Board shows that in 77% of tenancies terminated in the past three years the tenant was informed the landlords were selling the property or they or their families were moving into the property.
Figures show that 550 landlords left the market this autumn alone, which is approximately 46 a week. This year 2,080 landlords have left the market and 1,902 landlords left in 2020. This is clearly having a huge impact on tenants, their security of tenure and their well-being and mental health. Landlords selling their properties has been one of the main causes of homelessness over the past number of years. With property prices being so high at the moment it is no surprise that many landlords would choose to sell up rather than continue to rent out the property. According to Focus Ireland, responses by successive governments have maximised the sense of grievance among landlords while doing little to improve security of tenure.
The Bill addresses in some way this imbalance by providing a person or family at risk of homelessness with a three-month extension to the notice period. This proposal also intends to give local authorities and the families concerned some breathing space in helping a family in danger of being made homeless to find alternative accommodation. I am glad to hear the Government and members of other parties are not opposing the Bill. Well done to the Simon Communities and Deputy Ó Broin for bringing forward the Bill.