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Dáil debates

Friday, 16 December 2016

Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Bill 2016 [Seanad]: Report Stage (Resumed)

 

5:35 pm

Photo of Mick WallaceMick Wallace (Wexford, Independent)
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I move amendment No. 4:

In page 7, to delete lines 23 to 40, and in page 8, to delete lines 1 to 27.

Amendment put and declared lost.

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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I move amendment No. 5:

In page 8, to delete lines 26 and 27.

Amendment put and declared carried.

Photo of Seán Ó FearghaílSeán Ó Fearghaíl (Ceann Comhairle; Kildare South, Ceann Comhairle)
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Amendment No. 6 in the names of Deputies Mick Wallace, Clare Daly, Catherine Connolly and Thomas Pringle arises out of Committee proceedings and was already discussed with amendment No. 3. Is the amendment being pressed?

Photo of Mick WallaceMick Wallace (Wexford, Independent)
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No. The Minister has informed us permissions will not be extended.

Amendment No. 6 not moved.

Photo of Seán Ó FearghaílSeán Ó Fearghaíl (Ceann Comhairle; Kildare South, Ceann Comhairle)
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Amendments Nos. 7 and 8 have been ruled out of order.

Amendments Nos. 7 and 8 not moved.

Photo of Mick WallaceMick Wallace (Wexford, Independent)
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I move amendment No. 9:

In page 8, to delete lines 28 to 40, to delete page 9, and in page 10, to delete lines 1 to 33.

Amendment put and declared lost.

Photo of Seán Ó FearghaílSeán Ó Fearghaíl (Ceann Comhairle; Kildare South, Ceann Comhairle)
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Amendment No. 10 has already been discussed with amendment No. 3.

Photo of Mick WallaceMick Wallace (Wexford, Independent)
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I move amendment No. 10:

In page 10, to delete lines 34 to 41, to delete pages 11 and 12, and in page 13, to delete lines 1 to 26.

Amendment put and declared lost.

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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I move amendment No. 11:

In page 11, to delete lines 12 to 17 and substitute the following:“(a) subject to subsection (3), return to the prospective applicant concerned the copies of the request and statement submitted to it for the purposes of paragraphs (a) and (b), respectively, of section 5(4), and”.

Amendment put and declared carried.

Photo of Mick WallaceMick Wallace (Wexford, Independent)
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I move amendment No. 12:

In page 13, to delete lines 27 to 40, and in page 14, to delete lines 1 to 25.

Amendment put and declared lost.

Photo of Mick WallaceMick Wallace (Wexford, Independent)
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I move amendment No. 13:

In page 14, to delete lines 26 to 41, to delete pages 15 to 18, and in page 19, to delete lines 1 to 12.

Amendment put and declared lost.

Photo of Mick WallaceMick Wallace (Wexford, Independent)
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I move amendment No. 14:

In page 19, to delete lines 13 to 40, to delete pages 20 and 21, and in page 22, to delete lines 1 to 33.

Amendment put and declared lost.

Photo of Eamon RyanEamon Ryan (Dublin Bay South, Green Party)
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I move amendment No. 15:

In page 20, between lines 10 and 11, to insert the following:“(h) the requirements of the Energy Efficiency Directives, and

(i) he requirements of the public participation obligations arising from the Aarhus Convention.”.

Amendment put and declared lost.

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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I move amendment No. 16:

In page 21, line 37, to delete “vary” and substitute “extend”.

Amendment put and declared carried.

Photo of Mick WallaceMick Wallace (Wexford, Independent)
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I move amendment No. 17:

In page 22, to delete lines 34 to 41, and in page 23, to delete lines 1 to 24.

Amendment put and declared lost.

Photo of Mick WallaceMick Wallace (Wexford, Independent)
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I move amendment No. 18:

In page 23, to delete lines 25 to 40, and in page 24, to delete lines 1 to 31.

Amendment put and declared lost.

Photo of Mick WallaceMick Wallace (Wexford, Independent)
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I move amendment No. 19:

In page 24, to delete lines 32 to 39, and in page 25, to delete lines 1 to 21.

Amendment put and declared lost.

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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I move amendment No. 20:

In page 25, line 10, after “as the case may be” to insert “, and the circumstances in which the Board shall not pay any proportion of the fee to such planning authority or authorities”.

Amendment put and declared carried.

Photo of Mick WallaceMick Wallace (Wexford, Independent)
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I move amendment No. 21:

In page 25, to delete lines 22 to 41, and in page 26, to delete lines 1 to 12.

Amendment put and declared lost.

Photo of Mick WallaceMick Wallace (Wexford, Independent)
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I move amendment No. 22:

In page 26, to delete lines 13 to 21.

Amendment put and declared lost.

Photo of Mick WallaceMick Wallace (Wexford, Independent)
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I move amendment No. 23:

In page 26, to delete lines 22 to 29.

Amendment put and declared lost.

Photo of Mick WallaceMick Wallace (Wexford, Independent)
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I move amendment No. 24:

In page 26, to delete lines 30 to 36.

Amendment put and declared lost.

Photo of Mick WallaceMick Wallace (Wexford, Independent)
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I move amendment No. 25:

In page 27, to delete lines 1 to 10.

Amendment put and declared lost.

Photo of Mick WallaceMick Wallace (Wexford, Independent)
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I move amendment No. 26:

In page 27, to delete lines 11 to 41, and in page 28, to delete lines 1 to 15.

Amendment put and declared lost.

Photo of Mick WallaceMick Wallace (Wexford, Independent)
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I move amendment No. 27:

In page 28, between lines 15 and 16, to insert the following:“Amendment of section 143 of Act of 2000

19. Section 143 of the Act of 2000 is amended by the deletion of subsection (1)(a) and substitution of the following:“(1) (a) The Board shall, in performing its functions, be bound by the policies and objectives of the relevant planning authorities and relevant planning authorities’ development plan and any other body which is a public authority whose functions have, or may have, a bearing on the proper planning and sustainable development of cities, towns or other areas, whether urban or rural.”,”.

Amendment put and declared lost.

Photo of Mick WallaceMick Wallace (Wexford, Independent)
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I move amendment No. 28:

In page 28, to delete lines 16 to 39.

Amendment put and declared lost.

Photo of Mick WallaceMick Wallace (Wexford, Independent)
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I move amendment No. 29:

In page 29, to delete lines 1 to 7.

Amendment put and declared lost.

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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I move amendment No. 30:

In page 29, line 4, to delete “paragraph (a) there were inserted the following after subparagraph (III)” and substitute “paragraph (a)(i) there were inserted the following after clause (III)”.

Amendment put and declared carried.

Photo of Mick WallaceMick Wallace (Wexford, Independent)
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I move amendment No. 31:

In page 29, to delete lines 8 to 12.

Amendment put and declared lost.

Photo of Seán Ó FearghaílSeán Ó Fearghaíl (Ceann Comhairle; Kildare South, Ceann Comhairle)
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Amendment Nos. 32 and 36 to 43, inclusive, are related. Amendments Nos. 37 to 42, inclusive, are physical alternatives to amendment No. 36. Amendments Nos. 32 and 36 to 43, inclusive, will be discussed together.

5:45 pm

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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I move amendment No. 32:

In page 29, between lines 12 and 13, to insert the following:“Construction of sections 176A, 176B and 176C (screening for environmental impact assessment) of Act of 2000 during specified period
22. Sections 176A, 176B and 176C shall not apply during the specified period to a proposed strategic housing development in respect of which a prospective applicant has, in accordance with section 7(1)(a), requested the Board to make a determination whether it is likely to have significant effects on the environment.”.

This grouping of amendments relates to the proposals in Chapters 1 and 2 of Part 2 of the Bill for the carrying out of the screening of environmental impact assessments, EIAs, in respect of a development before an application is made for planning permission for the development. Government amendment No. 32 arises from a Sinn Féin Dáil Committee Stage amendment and proposes to insert a new section in the Bill, section 22, making it clear that if screening for an EIA has been requested for a proposed strategic housing development under Chapter 1 of Part 2 of the Bill, the general arrangements for the carrying out of an EIA screening that are proposed to be inserted into the Planning Act 2000 will not apply to the development. The amendment is necessary given that under the wording of the Bill as it stands, a second EIA screening could be required to be carried out for the same development, in certain circumstances. The amendment removes that possibility.

Government amendment No. 37 relates to section 25 of the Bill, which proposes to insert general arrangements for carrying out EIA screening into the Planning Act 2000. The amendment substitutes a new subsection (2) into the proposed new section 176A of the 2000 Act. The new provision deals with applying for an EIA screening without making reference to the person who proposes to undertake the development. This is because the class of person who can undertake a development and the class of person who can apply for an EIA screening determination are different and it is prudent to avoid any possible confusion arising from the wording in the Bill.

Government amendments Nos. 38 and 36 relate to subsection (5) of the new section 176B proposed to be inserted into the Planning Act 2000 and provide that a planning authority's public notice of its EIA screening determination on a proposed development must dictate that the determination may be referred to An Bord Pleanála for review and must also list those persons who may make such a referral to the board if they wish to pursue that course. The public notice must also state that the validity of the board's EIA screening determination on foot of a referral of a planning authority's determination may be challenged by way of judicial review as well as the authority's determination.

Government amendments Nos. 40 to 42, inclusive, relate to subsection (9) of the new section 176C proposed to be inserted into the Planning Act 2000 and provide that the board's public notice of its EIA screening determination in respect of a proposed development must state whether a document relates to the board's screening determination and can be inspected and purchased by the public.

I dealt with the Opposition amendments in some detail on Committee Stage. Therefore, I will just propose, in a positive way, the Government's amendments.

Amendment agreed to.

Photo of Mick WallaceMick Wallace (Wexford, Independent)
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I move amendment No. 33:

In page 29, to delete lines 13 to 19.

Amendment put and declared lost.

Photo of Mick WallaceMick Wallace (Wexford, Independent)
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I move amendment No. 34:

In page 29, to delete lines 20 to 23.

Amendment put and declared lost.

Photo of Mick WallaceMick Wallace (Wexford, Independent)
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I move amendment No. 35:

In page 29, to delete lines 24 to 33.

Amendment put and declared lost.

Photo of Mick WallaceMick Wallace (Wexford, Independent)
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I move amendment No. 36:

In page 29, to delete lines 36 and 37, to delete pages 30 to 34, and in page 35, to delete lines 1 to 30.

Amendment put and declared lost.

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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I move amendment No. 37:

In page 30, to delete lines 12 to 25 and substitute the following:“(2) (a) Subject to section 176B, where a proposed development is of a class standing specified in Part 2 of Schedule 5 to the Planning and Development Regulations 2001 and does not exceed the relevant quantity, area or other limit standing specified in that Part, an application for a screening for environmental impact assessment in respect of that development may be submitted to the planning authority in whose area the development would be situated.

(b) Subject to section 176B, where a proposed development is of a class standing prescribed under section 176 for the purposes of this paragraph, an application for a screening for environmental impact assessment in respect of that development shall be submitted to the planning authority in whose area the development would be situated.”.

Amendment agreed to.

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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I move amendment No. 38:

In page 33, to delete lines 5 to 8 and substitute the following:“(i) stating that the determination may be referred to the Board for review by—
(I) the applicant,

(II) the owner of the land, where he or she is not the applicant,

(III) the occupier of the land, where he or she is not the applicant or the owner of the land, and

(IV) any person or body consulted by the planning authority about the application,
(ii) stating that a person may question the validity of either or both—
(I) the screening determination for environmental impact assessment by the planning authority, and

(II) any determination by the Board of the said screening determination, by way of an application for judicial review, under Order 84 of the Rules of the Superior Courts (S.I. No. 15 of 1986), in accordance with sections 50 and 50A of the Act of 2000, and”.

Amendment agreed to.

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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I move amendment No. 39:

In page 33, line 9, to delete “(ii) identifying” and substitute “(iii) identifying”.

Amendment agreed to.

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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I move amendment No. 40:

In page 35, between lines 11 and 12, to insert the following:“(i) indicating the place or places at which the documents relating to the making of its determination are available for inspection and purchase by members of the public and, where applicable, the availability of the said documents for inspection by electronic means,”.

Amendment agreed to.

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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I move amendment No. 41:

In page 35, line 12, to delete “(i) stating that” and substitute “(ii) stating that”.

Amendment agreed to.

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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I move amendment No. 42:

In page 35, line 16, to delete “(ii) identifying” and substitute “(iii) identifying”.

Amendment agreed to.

Photo of Mick WallaceMick Wallace (Wexford, Independent)
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I move amendment No. 43:

In page 35, to delete lines 31 to 39, and in page 36, to delete lines 1 to 17.

Amendment put and declared lost.

Photo of Eamon RyanEamon Ryan (Dublin Bay South, Green Party)
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I move amendment No. 44:

In page 36, between lines 19 and 20, to insert the following:“Amendment of section 28 of Act of 2000

27. Section 28 of the Act of 2000 (as amended by section 2 of the Act of 2015) is amended by the deletion of subsection (1C).”.

Amendment put and declared lost.

Photo of Seán Ó FearghaílSeán Ó Fearghaíl (Ceann Comhairle; Kildare South, Ceann Comhairle)
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Amendments Nos. 45 and 46 are physical alternatives and will be discussed together.

Amendment No. 45 not moved.

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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I move amendment No. 46:

In page 36, to delete lines 21 and 22 and substitute following:“27. (1) Section 42 of the Act of 2000 is amended—
(a) in subsection (1)—
(i) by substituting “Subject to subsection (8), on application to it in that behalf” for “On application to it in that behalf”,

(ii) in paragraph (a)(ii) by inserting “and” at the end of clause (II), substituting “section,” for “section, and” in clause (III) and deleting clause (IV), and

(iii) by inserting the following after paragraph (a):

“(aa) an environmental impact assessment or an appropriate assessment, or both of those assessments, were not required before the permission was granted,”,
and

(b) by inserting the following after subsection (7):
“(8) Subparagraph (ii) of subsection (1)(a) does not apply in the case of a permission granted under section 9 of the Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Act 2016.”.
(2) During the period from the passing of this Act until 31 December 2021, section 42 of the Act of 2000 has effect—”.

Photo of Ruth CoppingerRuth Coppinger (Dublin West, Anti-Austerity Alliance)
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I move amendment No. 1 to amendment No. 46:

To delete subsection (1)(a)(ii).

Amendment to amendment put and declared lost.

Amendment No. 46 agreed to.

Photo of Seán Ó FearghaílSeán Ó Fearghaíl (Ceann Comhairle; Kildare South, Ceann Comhairle)
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Amendments Nos. 47 to 52, inclusive, are related. Amendments Nos. 48 to 52, inclusive, are physical alternatives to amendment No. 47. Amendments Nos. 47 to 52, inclusive, will be discussed together.

Amendments Nos. 47 and 48 not moved.

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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I move amendment No. 49:

In page 37, to delete lines 32 and 33.

In response to the misgivings about the council majority voting requirement as proposed in the Bill and as expressed in the Seanad and the Dáil, amendments Nos. 49, 50 and 52, in combination, delete this requirement from the Bill. Accordingly, it will continue to be the case, as applies at present, that a majority of elected members present and voting at a council meeting will be able to pass a section 179 resolution approving, varying or rejecting a local authority own development proposal, in other words a Part 8 development. A number of Opposition parties asked me to facilitate this, so we have done it.

Amendment agreed to.

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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I move amendment No. 50:

In page 37, line 34, to delete “(ii) it has to be passed” and substitute “(i) it has to be passed”.

Amendment agreed to.

Photo of Eamon RyanEamon Ryan (Dublin Bay South, Green Party)
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I move amendment No. 51:

In page 37, line 34, after “6 weeks” to insert “after the first Council meeting after the expiration of 2 weeks”.

Amendment put and declared lost.

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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I move amendment No. 52:

In page 37, line 36, to delete “(iii) in the case of” and substitute “(ii) in the case of”.

Amendment agreed to.

Photo of Seán Ó FearghaílSeán Ó Fearghaíl (Ceann Comhairle; Kildare South, Ceann Comhairle)
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Amendments Nos. 53, 69 to 99, inclusive, 104 to 108, inclusive, and 117 are related and will be discussed together.

5:55 pm

Photo of Séamus HealySéamus Healy (Tipperary, Workers and Unemployed Action Group)
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I move amendment No. 53:

In page 38, between lines 2 and 3, to insert the following:“29.Dáil Éireann formally declares that a housing emergency exists in the State and while this emergency continues the right of any person to remain in the dwelling in which the person currently resides will take precedence over any property right of any other person—
(a) accordingly no court or other authority shall order the removal of the current occupant of a dwelling, or by its decisions enable such removal notwithstanding the provisions of any Act currently in force including the provisions of the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act 2013,

(b) the housing emergency declared in this section can only be terminated by a vote of Dáil Éireann, and the Government, including any Minister of the Government, are precluded from annulling the housing emergency without approval in such a vote,

(c) in view of the housing emergency declared here, the power of any Minister of Government to raise the market value threshold of €75,000 for single or multiple dwellings for consideration of possession of dwellings cases by the Circuit Court by activating or commencing sections of existing Acts without approval by a vote of Dáil Éireann, is cancelled.”.

I will speak particularly to amendments Nos. 53 and 80. The former concerns the declaration of a housing emergency; the latter is the Focus Ireland amendment regarding buy-to-let properties and the eviction of tenants on the sale of such properties.

The Government proposals in the Bill will mean that tenants in buy-to-let properties being sold by landlords will have to leave the property if the landlord can get at least 20% more in the sale price with vacant possession than with continuing tenants. At a time of a huge lack of housing, it is lawful under the Bill to evict a tenant in order that the landlord can secure 20% extra on a sale, which is outrageous. It is cruel and anti-human. Focus Ireland tells us that a third of homeless people have had to leave buy-to-let properties on the sale of those properties. Children in these cases must go to a hotel, temporary accommodation, hostel accommodation or other unsuitable accommodation in order that a landlord can make more money from a sale. This situation is dealt with in other jurisdictions to the effect that on the sale of a property by a landlord, the tenancy continues. We simply must ensure that such a measure is adopted here and that tenants are treated reasonably, fairly and respectfully and that they are not thrown out on the road when buy-to-let landlords sell properties. There are already 2,500 children and 6,800 adults who are homeless. We are adding to these figures and we simply must stop that.

This is all in the context of the Government itself evicting householders and families through the banks it owns, namely, AIB, PTSB and EBS. In response to a question asked at a recent Oireachtas finance committee meeting, a representative of AIB said 2,879 court hearings relating to owner-occupied mortgage debt were in progress at the end of June of this year and 767 orders for possession had been granted. This has been widely reported in the press and was dealt with at the committee. We own Allied Irish Banks. The Minister can instruct the bank not to continue with repossessions. Such repossessions are adding to our housing crisis and emergency.

This year is the 100th anniversary of 1916. The first Dáil in 1919 proclaimed:

We declare in the words of the Irish Republican Proclamation the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland, and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies to be indefeasible, and in the language of our first President, Pádraig Mac Phiarais, we declare that the Nation's sovereignty extends not only to all men and women of the Nation, but to all its material possessions, the Nation's soil and all its resources, all the wealth and all the wealth-producing processes within the Nation, and with him we reaffirm that all right to private property must be subordinated to the public right and welfare.

The 1916 Proclamation reads, "We declare the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies, to be sovereign and indefeasible."

We have an absolute housing emergency. The Minister has acknowledged this on numerous occasions. However, he and his Government refuse to have such an emergency declared in Dáil Éireann. They are prepared to declare a financial emergency and have done so and extended that emergency in June to ensure cuts to the pay and pensions of public service workers but they refuse to declare an emergency to ensure that families have roofs over their heads, that evictions are stopped and that we have rent certainty and security of tenure. Unfortunately, not alone will the Bill before us not help the situation, but it will make matters worse. It is a pretence. As I said earlier, tenants can be removed from buy-to-let properties in the circumstances I have outlined. We need to stop this. We need to support the Focus Ireland amendment to ensure that tenants, on the sale of these buy-to-let properties by landlords, remain in their properties and that we do not add to the already very difficult and traumatic situation faced by families and children. The declaration of a housing emergency by this Dáil is absolutely necessary to ensure we can deal with the housing emergency and to ensure the right to a roof over one's head takes priority over private property. Everything else in the Bill and the many other suggestions, such as the rent strategy, are all very fine but they do not deal fundamentally with the problem we have. The declaration of a housing emergency is required to stop, as I said, the evictions, to ensure rent certainty and rent control and to build local authority houses.

This Government and previous Governments have refused to build local authority houses since about 2002. They privatised the local authority housing. Local authorities have not been allowed to build houses since about 2002. I think 75 houses were built last year. In the 1970s, we built up to 10,000 local authority houses every year. We simply must get back to this level of building because there are huge numbers of families out there who will never be able to buy their own home. Because of the manner in which families now get on local authority lists - or maybe do not - a very significant section of the population neither qualifies for a loan or a mortgage nor to get on the local authority list. They are caught in the middle with absolutely no support whatever. They cannot rub two euro together. They exist, unfortunately, from hand to mouth. I meet them every day of the week, as I am sure many, if not all, Deputies meet similar people. They are caught in a situation in which they neither have a mortgage nor are they on a local authority housing list. The income limit for local authority housing lists has been slashed, as has the number of local authority mortgages and bank mortgages given out to people who are effectively working but who are the working poor. These people find themselves paying astronomical and extortionate rents in many cases. I came across a case recently in which a landlord had increased the rent from €560 per month to €750 per month, and that is not the only case. Rents are simply unaffordable for everybody, but particularly for this category of people who do not even qualify for the HAP scheme, as bad as the HAP scheme is.

6:05 pm

Photo of Jan O'SullivanJan O'Sullivan (Limerick City, Labour)
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The amendments in this group in my name are Nos. 73, 82 and 93. I will move them when we reach them. Amendments Nos. 73 and 82 relate to the issue that was raised by Deputy Healy. Focus Ireland is running a campaign to seek to ensure that tenancies are secured when buy-to-let properties are sold. Amendment No. 93, in my name and the names of a number of other Deputies, proposes to reduce from ten to five the maximum number of tenancy terminations that may be carried out by a property owner at one time. The Minister originally proposed that this would not become an issue unless such a landlord owned 20 or more properties. That figure was reduced to five in the Seanad but, unfortunately, the Minister is now proposing to increase it to ten in amendment No. 92. Those of us who have tabled amendments in this group are supporting the Secure Rents campaign, one of the three aims of which relates to security of tenure. A person who has a lease should not be given notice and kicked out of his or her home because the property is to be sold. I will not detain the House on this matter because it has been thrashed out at this stage. If we are going to have a secure rental sector in Ireland, as many of our European neighbours have, I strongly believe we must give people a sense of security when their leases are still viable by ensuring they are not put out of their homes because of a sale.

Photo of Tommy BroughanTommy Broughan (Dublin Bay North, Independent)
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I support Deputies Healy and Jan O'Sullivan on these amendments. When I discussed housing with the Minister before this Government was formed, I made the point that strong action would be required at an early stage. I referred specifically to the declaration of an emergency in this area. I am sure the Ceann Comhairle recalls all the Tuesday nights and weekend nights like this when we discussed the financial and banking emergencies. The then Government was prepared to introduce emergency measures in that area. After nine months in office, however, this Government is still not prepared to take the fundamental steps that are necessary in the housing area, as outlined in the amendments before the House. I think that is regrettable. I believe the electorate will punish the Government severely for this in due course.

Photo of Eoin Ó BroinEoin Ó Broin (Dublin Mid West, Sinn Fein)
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Amendments Nos. 75, 76, 80 and 83 cover issues about which I feel very strongly about and which I pursued on Committee Stage. Two of the amendments seek to improve security of tenure by removing the sale of property as a ground for giving notice to quit and by moving from ten-year tenancies to tenancies of indefinite duration. I endorse what Deputy Jan O'Sullivan said about the Focus Ireland amendment. I also support Deputy Coppinger's Tyrrelstown amendment because I firmly believe it is a grave mistake not to provide the protections that are currently in the Bill to all tenants. I do not think it is adequate to set the relevant figure at ten, as proposed by the Minister, or even at five as was agreed in the Seanad. I endorse Deputy Coppinger's proposal, which is the same as Sinn Féin's proposal, to set the figure at one.

Photo of Ruth CoppingerRuth Coppinger (Dublin West, Anti-Austerity Alliance)
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I will move our amendments in due course. I want to focus on one amendment that I am asking the Minister to take very seriously. When the Minister spoke about this Bill at the Select Committee on Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government, he christened his plan to make changes in this regard the "Tyrrelstown amendment". When he gave an interview on the Seán O'Rourke programme on RTE radio last week, he said he was introducing a Tyrrelstown amendment to protect people in properties - such as those in the Tyrrelstown development that gave rise to this amendment - that are owned by vulture funds. It was a very deceptive comment because the Minister is doing nothing of the sort. He did not mention on the radio that he was going to propose an increase in the number of properties provided for in the amendment from five, as it was in the Seanad amendment, to ten. Like other Deputies, I have proposed an amendment in this regard because it is not acceptable to allow ten families to be evicted by a vulture fund in one fell swoop.  I ask the Minister to think of the impact on a community of ten families leaving an estate.  If there are three or four children in each family, there could be up to 40 children leaving the local school.  That is exactly what this means.  It is happening now in Dublin and elsewhere.

The Minister has included many loopholes in this section of the Bill. One of the loopholes allows a property owner to be exempted from these requirements if he or she can argue that they are unduly onerous on the basis that they will result in him or her losing 20% of the value of the properties he or she is selling. Is the Minister seriously telling us this is a suitable balance? Does he think it is fair enough for a landlord to evict ten families? The Minister might think this will slow down the rate of evictions but I suggest it will not have that much of an impact. It is estimated from the meetings we have had in the Tyrrelstown community that between 30 and 40 families in the area have received eviction notices. The Minister's original amendment, which set the relevant number at 20, would not have had that much of an impact. Now he is proposing to reduce the figure to ten, which will slow this activity somewhat. Why should people who have lived in homes for eight years, in many cases, be treated like this?  I know of a man, Martin Malinovsky, who has paid €120,000 to rent the house in which he is living.  The vulture fund increased his rent by 28% in November.  It is now resorting to such tactics as it looks for any possible way of getting people out.

I ask the Minister to do two things if he is serious about protecting people from vulture funds. There is an onus on him to do something because Fine Gael, and particularly, the Minister, Deputy Noonan, put out the red carpet for these funds.  I ask the Minister, Deputy Coveney, to support the amendment and to do something simple that was done by Deputy Alan Kelly, for all his many sins, when he served as Minister. He met the residents' group and I think that is the least the current Minister can do now.  The Minister, Deputy Coveney, has penned an amendment without consulting the residents.  Will he meet them now?  I will explain their plight very quickly.  A total of 18 houses have now been purchased by a housing agency. This welcome development was campaigned and called for by the tenants. I think it might be the first time it has happened with tenants in situThe difficulty is that it caters only for those whose houses have been bought by the housing agency - people are still facing eviction if their houses have not been bought - and those who are on the social housing lists.  People like Martin Malinovsky, who is paying a rent of €1,200, would be well able to pay a mortgage.  He is asking the Government to meet him and others to discuss an affordable mortgage scheme.  I think it is a simple request and an important one.  I ask the Minister to agree to set some time aside in the new year to look at how this might be done. Some of the way has been gone.

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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I will happily meet them in the new year.

Photo of Ruth CoppingerRuth Coppinger (Dublin West, Anti-Austerity Alliance)
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I thank the Minister. Some progress has been made as a result of the persistence of the tenants.  On a night when an occupation is taking place in a building not far from here, I ask the Minister not to pass a law that will allow vulture funds to evict ten households.  I send solidarity to those involved in the Irish Housing Network and the "Home Sweet Home" campaign.  I think such things will happen more often.  Vulture funds should have to sell their properties with the tenants in situIt is very simple.

Photo of Barry CowenBarry Cowen (Offaly, Fianna Fail)
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I will speak briefly on the same issue as Deputy Coppinger and others.  The Government is seeking, in amendment No. 92, to reverse a decision that was made by the Seanad. The number of units provided for under what has become known as the Tyrrelstown amendment was initially 20, but the Seanad reduced that to five.  From our perspective, it is right to set the figure at five to make adequate provision for involuntary landlords.  It could be argued that they are not too involuntary if they are renting out five unitsThe rationale was that the Tyrrelstown provision should be protected in some shape or form.  It appears that legal advice to the contrary has been received since this decision was made by the Seanad.  I await the Minister’s confirmation of this.  If there has been legal advice to the contrary, it is obvious that it has been received from the Attorney General.  If she is saying that an amendment like this is unconstitutional, that needs to be stated categorically.

If that be the case and we persist in fighting this amendment and retain the status quo, as agreed by the Seanad, then we would run the risk of the Bill falling were the issue to be challenged. That is not something to which we can be a party. I earnestly call on the Minister to confirm that this is the case. Furthermore, I call on him to commit - in writing - to provide for the thrust, will and sentiment of the Seanad, as well as of the Dáil, either immediately after Christmas or in January. If we had pushed the matter to vote, we might well have won. There should be an amendment to the Bill in order to ensure that there will be adequate legal provision.

There is a view – one that I might share – in respect of commercial properties and the Minister is well aware of it. This view relates to the fact that tenants can be unaffected by sales. It is not a voluntary code and it can be enforced by law. I am keen to hear the detail that has been provided to the Minister and the Cabinet. I assume it is the advice of the Attorney General. Was that information not provided to the Cabinet and the Minister when the Bill was facing the amendment made by my colleagues in the Seanad some weeks ago? We await the contribution of the Minister to allow us to accept the Attorney General's advice, if that be the case.

6:15 pm

Photo of Catherine MurphyCatherine Murphy (Kildare North, Social Democrats)
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I support the proposed Focus Ireland amendment. The organisation asked us to put forward the amendment. In the buy-to-let area, there has been an acceleration in the volume of people receiving notices to quit. The point has been made in respect of commercial properties with the tenant in situ. Commercial properties change hands.

It is interesting that we were talking about emergency accommodation earlier. There is resistance to declaring a housing emergency, although we can see it every day of the week when we walk the streets of Dublin. Large numbers of people, including children, are living in hotel rooms. The figures do not take account of the tens of thousands of people who are living are in cramped conditions, with two or three families in the one house. The idea of not declaring a housing emergency is hard to fathom. It is an emergency for anyone who wants to see it.

We need to refine the word "stakeholders". The stakeholders include the tenants, not just the landlords. Stakeholders are people who live in and who have an interest in a community as well as how it is planned and developed. It seems to me that "stakeholders" has been redefined as meaning people who own large tracts of property and who can impose the conditions under which they are developed or otherwise. The power is altogether unequal. We need to redefine what we mean in this area. Large numbers of people believe they are not included in some of the laws being made. They believe they are not being consulted.

Photo of Mick WallaceMick Wallace (Wexford, Independent)
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We have amendments on the same issue. We have drawn attention to the European models. Other countries are able to work this. It does not apply in every country, but it does apply in many. Let us suppose a tenant who is alive and well in Europe has a lease. If the property is sold, the tenant has the right to remainin situ. If there are constitutional impediments, then we should address them.

Deputy Cowen made a point about the commercial aspect. The idea makes sense in the commercial world. If an owner is selling a property but if the tenant has a lease and is paying rent, then it makes sense for the tenant to remainin situ. It works fine because the idea is established. If we were to do the same in the residential area, it would only be a matter of time before the idea became established and it will work fine. It will not be as draconian on the landlord who wants to sell the property, as the Government perceives it at present. Let us consider security of tenure. There is no logic to throwing anyone out of a house if a lease is in place. If there is any legal argument against the idea, then we should address it.

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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First, I will speak to amendments Nos. 69 and 117. Increasing security for tenants and landlords is essential to the development of the rental sector as an attractive tenure choice and as a safe and feasible investment choice for a range of investors. The rental strategy includes a range of measures aimed at enabling a move towards secure long-term tenancies. This is where most people in the House want us to go. One of our measures, action 8 of the rental strategy, commits to amending Part 4 of the 2004 Act to provide that a Part 4 tenancy will last for six years rather than four. This is intended to be the first step in a transition to tenancies of indefinite duration. The idea was very much a part of the Fianna Fáil submission on the rental strategy as well as the strategies of the Labour Party, Sinn Féin and perhaps others. Certainly, that is the direction we need to go. I took the view that if we jumped there in one go, it might cause problems from a supply point of view. I referred to this matter earlier.

Amendments Nos. 69 and 117 provide for this change and the consequential amendments that arise. I have set out that these provisions will commence on the day following the passing of the Bill. Once a tenant has rented a dwelling for more than six months, the tenant will now be entitled to stay at that dwelling for six years. Amendments Nos. 86 and 87 provide for consequential drafting amendments to an Opposition amendment to section 35 on Report Stage in the Seanad.

Amendment No. 92 is known as the Tyrrelstown amendment. It provides for the increase in the number of dwellings to which section 35 applies from five to ten. The original figure was 20 dwellings and this was amended to five on Report Stage in the Seanad. The purpose of the Tyrrelstown amendment was to indicate to institutional investors buying large-scale developments that when these properties are sold, the existing tenancies in those properties will be protected.

The figure of 20 units was chosen because anything above it represented a medium-sized development. I want to ensure that when medium-sized and large-scale developments are bought and sold, tenants will be protected through the process in order that we will not have a repeat of what happened in Tyrrelstown. By and large, these developments are managed by professionally-managed funds, professional landlords and so-called vulture funds. In drafting the Tyrrelstown amendment, the Department was aware that restricting the use of the ground of sale to terminate a tenancy could be regarded as an interference with constitutionally-protected property rights. The number of dwellings was chosen to ensure that this interference was both proportionate and justified. I am told this is a requirement if we seek to proceed in this way.

Let us suppose a landlord has one property with a tenant and he is looking to sell that property. The rights of the landlord in terms of ownership and sale, and the potential reduction in value if he were to sell it with a tenant in it, interferes with a person's property rights. Let us suppose a landlord is an owner of 40 properties each with tenants. It is surely both proportionate and justified that the rights of those 40 would override the property rights of an individual in the Constitution. That is why when we have multiple numbers; it is both proportionate and justified to do what we are doing. However, if it is a question of the right of one person as a tenant versus the constitutional property rights of the owner as a landlord then there is an issue. This is what I have been told.

I have much sympathy for the spirit of what we are trying to do. I introduced the so-called Tyrrelstown amendment early. I did so not when the Bill was progressing but during the summer, because I took the view that it was the right thing to do. However, I cannot ignore legal advice either. I have taken legal advice from the Attorney General on this issue. While I am not seeking to return the number of dwellings to which the amendment applies to 20, I believe that, having taken the advice, ten is the appropriate number.

To be clear, I sought legal advice from the Office of the Attorney General after Report Stage in the Seanad because we were concerned about the matter at the time. In fact, I raised it with colleagues. While the number of units was reduced from 20 to five, the Attorney General advised that ten was the more appropriate number. Reducing it to five would have significantly-----

6:25 pm

Photo of Ruth CoppingerRuth Coppinger (Dublin West, Anti-Austerity Alliance)
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Why was it 20 originally?

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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That was to ensure the position would be stronger. I am trying to make the number as small as possible because I agree with the spirit of what people are looking for. However, my advice is that we should not go below ten. Deputy Barry Cowen has asked me to look at this issue again in the new year. I will be happy to do so. If we can do something, we will look at how we can do it. However, it would be very foolish not to follow the legal advice to the Government on the issue, which is the reason I propose that the figure be ten.

Amendment put:

The Dáil divided: Tá, 34; Staon, 24; Níl, 59.


Tellers: Tá, Deputies Seamus Healy and Ruth Coppinger; Níl, Deputies Regina Doherty and Tony McLoughlin.

Gerry Adams, Mick Barry, Richard Boyd Barrett, John Brady, Tommy Broughan, Joan Collins, Michael Collins, Catherine Connolly, Ruth Coppinger, Seán Crowe, David Cullinane, Clare Daly, Pearse Doherty, Dessie Ellis, Kathleen Funchion, Séamus Healy, Gino Kenny, Martin Kenny, Mary Lou McDonald, Denise Mitchell, Imelda Munster, Catherine Murphy, Paul Murphy, Carol Nolan, Eoin Ó Broin, Jonathan O'Brien, Louise O'Reilly, Maureen O'Sullivan, Thomas Pringle, Róisín Shortall, Bríd Smith, Brian Stanley, Peadar Tóibín, Mick Wallace.

Níl

Maria Bailey, Seán Barrett, Colm Brophy, Richard Bruton, Peter Burke, Catherine Byrne, Seán Canney, Ciarán Cannon, Joe Carey, Marcella Corcoran Kennedy, Simon Coveney, Michael Creed, Michael D'Arcy, Pat Deering, Regina Doherty, Paschal Donohoe, Andrew Doyle, Bernard Durkan, Damien English, Alan Farrell, Frances Fitzgerald, Michael Fitzmaurice, Peter Fitzpatrick, Charles Flanagan, Noel Grealish, Brendan Griffin, Simon Harris, Martin Heydon, Brendan Howlin, Heather Humphreys, Paul Kehoe, Alan Kelly, Enda Kenny, Seán Kyne, Michael Lowry, Josepha Madigan, Helen McEntee, Finian McGrath, Joe McHugh, Tony McLoughlin, Mary Mitchell O'Connor, Dara Murphy, Eoghan Murphy, Hildegarde Naughton, Tom Neville, Kate O'Connell, Patrick O'Donovan, Fergus O'Dowd, Jan O'Sullivan, Willie Penrose, John Paul Phelan, Noel Rock, Shane Ross, Brendan Ryan, Eamon Ryan, Seán Sherlock, David Stanton, Leo Varadkar, Katherine Zappone.

Staon

Bobby Aylward, James Browne, Mary Butler, Thomas Byrne, Jackie Cahill, Dara Calleary, Pat Casey, Shane Cassells, Jack Chambers, Barry Cowen, John Curran, Seán Fleming, Seán Haughey, Billy Kelleher, John Lahart, James Lawless, Marc MacSharry, Charlie McConalogue, Aindrias Moynihan, Margaret Murphy O'Mahony, Kevin O'Keeffe, Frank O'Rourke, Anne Rabbitte, Robert Troy.

Amendment declared lost.

6:30 pm

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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7 o’clock

I move amendment No. 54:

In page 38, between lines 11 and 12, to insert the following:“Amendment of section 12 (obligations of landlords) of Act of 2004

32.Section 12 of the Act of 2004 is amended in subsection (1) by substituting “complaint,” for “complaint.” in paragraph (h)(iii) and inserting the following paragraph after paragraph (h):
“(i) in the case of a tenancy of a dwelling in a rent pressure zone (within the meaning given in section 19(7)), where the tenancy commences on or after the commencement of section 32 of the Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Act 2016, furnish the tenant, in writing, with the following information at the commencement of the tenancy:
(i) the amount of rent that was last set under a tenancy for the dwelling;

(ii) the date the rent was last set under a tenancy for the dwelling;

(iii) a statement as to how the rent set under the tenancy of the dwelling has been calculated having regard to section 19(4).”.”.

Photo of Ruth CoppingerRuth Coppinger (Dublin West, Anti-Austerity Alliance)
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I move amendment No. 1 to amendment No. 54:

1. To insert the following after subparagraph (iii):“(iv) a statement as to how the rent set under the tenancy of the dwelling has been calculated having regard to section 19(4), and

(v) a certificate from the Residential Tenancies Board stating that this level of rent is in compliance with this Act.”.”.

Amendment No. 1 to amendment No. 54 put and declared lost.

Amendment No. 54 agreed to.

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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I move amendment No. 55:

In page 38, between lines 11 and 12, to insert the following:“Amendment of section 19 (setting of rent above market rent prohibited) of Act of 2004

32. Section 19 of the Principal Act is amended by inserting the following subsections after subsection (2):
“(3) The setting of the rent under the tenancy of a dwelling that is carried out on or after the relevant date shall be subject to subsections (4) to (7).

(4) Subject to subsection (5), in setting, at any particular time, the rent under a tenancy of a dwelling in a rent pressure zone, an amount of rent shall not be provided for that is greater than the amount determined by the formula—
R x (1 + 0.04 x t/m)

where—

m is—
(a) 24, where section 24C(1)(a) applies, or

(b) 12, in any other case,
R is the amount of rent last set under a tenancy for the dwelling,

t is the number of months between—
(a) (i) the date the current rent came into effect under a tenancy for the dwelling, or
(ii) where paragraph (a) does not apply but the dwelling was previously let, other than in circumstances to which subsection (5) applies, the date rent became payable under a tenancy for the dwelling as last so let,
and

(b) the date the rent for the tenancy of the dwelling will come into effect after its determination under this subsection.
(5) Subsection (4) does not apply—
(a) where a dwelling has not at any time been the subject of a tenancy during the period of 2 years prior to the date the area is prescribed under section 24A as a rent pressure zone or deemed to be so prescribed;

(b) if, in the period since the rent was last set under a tenancy for the dwelling—
(i) a substantial change in the nature of the accommodation provided under the tenancy occurs, and

(ii) the rent under the tenancy, were it to be set immediately after that change, would, by virtue of that change, be different to what was the market rent for the tenancy at the time the rent was last set under a tenancy for the dwelling.
(6) Where immediately before the relevant date a notice under section 22(2)—
(a) has been served on the tenant, or

(b) the rent review concerned has commenced,
then subsections (3) and (4) shall not apply to the new rent, referred to in section 22(2), stated in that notice in accordance with that section.

(7) In this section—
‘relevant date’ means the date section 32 of the Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Act 2016comes into operation;

‘rent pressure zone’ means an area—
(a) prescribed by the Minister by order under section 24A as a rent pressure zone under that section, or

(b) in respect of an area to which section 24B relates, deemed to be so prescribed by the Minister under section 24A.”.”.

Photo of Eoin Ó BroinEoin Ó Broin (Dublin Mid West, Sinn Fein)
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I move amendment No. 1 to amendment No. 55:

To delete the proposed amendment no. 55 and substitute the following:“Amendment of section 19 (setting of rent above market rent prohibited) of Act of 2004

32. Section 19 of the Act of 2004 is amended by the insertion of the following subsections after subsection (2):
“(3) The setting of rent under the tenancy of a dwelling that is carried out on or after the relevant date shall be subject to subsections (4) to (7).

(4) Subject to subsection (5), in setting, at any particular time, the rent under a tenancy of a dwelling in a rent pressure zone, an amount of rent shall not be provided for that is greater than the amount determined by the formula—
R x (1 + c x t/12)
Where—

R is the amount of rent last set under a tenancy for the dwelling,

c is the consumer price index in the given year,

t is the number of months between—
(a) (i) the date the current rent came into effect under a tenancy for the dwelling not being more than twelve months, or
(ii) where paragraph (a) does not apply but the dwelling was previously let, the date rent became payable under a tenancy for the dwelling as last so let,
and
(b) the date the rent for the tenancy of the dwelling will come into effect after its determination under this subsection.”.”.

Photo of Jan O'SullivanJan O'Sullivan (Limerick City, Labour)
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I move amendment No. 1 to amendment No. 1 to amendment No. 55:

To delete “c is the consumer price index in the given year” and substitute the following:“c is the annual percentage change in the consumer price index, expressed in decimal notation as a fraction of 1,”.

Amendment No. 1 to amendment No. 1 to amendment No. 55 put and declared lost.

Amendment No. 1 to amendment No. 55 put and declared lost.

Photo of Catherine MurphyCatherine Murphy (Kildare North, Social Democrats)
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I move amendment No. 2 to amendment No. 55:

To delete the proposed amendment no. 55 and substitute the following:“32. Section 19 of the Principal Act is amended by inserting the following subsection after subsection (2):
“(3) The setting of rent under the tenancy of a dwelling that is carried out on or after the relevant date shall be linked to the Consumer Price Index.”.

Amendment No. 2 to amendment No. 55 put and declared lost.

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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I move amendment No. 3 to amendment No. 55:

To delete the proposed amendment No. 55 and substitute the following:“Amendment of section 19 (setting of rent above market rent prohibited) of Act of 2004

32. Section 19 of the Principal Act is amended by inserting the following subsections after subsection (2):
“(3) The setting of the rent under the tenancy of a dwelling that is carried out on or after the relevant date shall be subject to subsections (4) to (7).

(4) Subject to subsection (5), in setting, at any particular time, the rent under a tenancy of a dwelling in a rent pressure zone, an amount of rent shall not be provided for that is greater than the amount determined by the formula—
R x (1 + 0.00 x t/12)

where—

R is the amount of rent last set under a tenancy for the dwelling,

t is the number of months between—
(a) (i) the date the current rent came into effect under a tenancy for the dwelling, or
(ii) where paragraph (a) does not apply but the dwelling was previously let, other than in circumstances to which subsection (5) applies, the date rent became payable under a tenancy for the dwelling as last so let,
and
(b) the date the rent for the tenancy of the dwelling will come into effect after its determination under this subsection.
(5) In this section—
‘relevant date’ means the date section 32 of the Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Act 2016 comes into operation;

‘rent pressure zone’ means an area—
(a) prescribed by the Minister by order under section 24A as a rent pressure zone under that section, or

(b) in respect of an area to which section 24B relates, deemed to be so prescribed by the Minister under section 24A.”.”.

Amendment No. 3 to amendment No. 55 put and declared lost.

Photo of Seán Ó FearghaílSeán Ó Fearghaíl (Ceann Comhairle; Kildare South, Ceann Comhairle)
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Amendments No. 3a, 4 and 5 to amendment No. 55 cannot be moved as the text of the section proposed to be inserted has been substituted and the text contemplated by the amendments has been replaced.

Amendments Nos. 3a, 4, and 5 to amendment No. 55 not moved.

Photo of Ruth CoppingerRuth Coppinger (Dublin West, Anti-Austerity Alliance)
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I move amendment No. 5ato amendment No. 55:

In subsection (4), to delete all words from and including “R x (1 + 0.04 x t/m)” down to and including the inserted subsection (6) and substitute the following:
“R x (1 + 0.00)

where R is the amount of rent last set under a tenancy for the dwelling.”.

Amendment No. 5a to amendment No. 55 put and declared lost.

Photo of Eamon RyanEamon Ryan (Dublin Bay South, Green Party)
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I move amendment No. 6 to amendment No. 55:

In subsection (4), to delete all words from and including “, an amount” down to and including paragraph (b) and substitute “increases in rent shall be linked to CPI.”.

Amendment No. 6 to amendment No. 55 put and declared lost.

6:40 pm

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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On a point of order, have we not been through amendments Nos. 4, 5, 6 and 7? I thought we were up into the 50s.

Photo of Seán Ó FearghaílSeán Ó Fearghaíl (Ceann Comhairle; Kildare South, Ceann Comhairle)
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No. These are amendments to an amendment. We are not going backwards, Minister.

Photo of Ruth CoppingerRuth Coppinger (Dublin West, Anti-Austerity Alliance)
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I move amendment No. 7 to amendment No. 55:

To delete subsection (5)(a).

Amendment put and declared lost.

Photo of Seán Ó FearghaílSeán Ó Fearghaíl (Ceann Comhairle; Kildare South, Ceann Comhairle)
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Amendment No. 8 to amendment No. 55 is in the name of Deputy Cowen. Is the Deputy pressing the amendment?

Photo of Barry CowenBarry Cowen (Offaly, Fianna Fail)
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Does the Minister commit to a definition by the RTB on this issue?

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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Yes.

Photo of Barry CowenBarry Cowen (Offaly, Fianna Fail)
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In that case, I withdraw the amendment.

Amendment No. 8 to amendment No. 55 not moved.

Photo of Ruth CoppingerRuth Coppinger (Dublin West, Anti-Austerity Alliance)
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I move amendment No. 9 to amendment No. 55:

In subsection (5)(b)(i), to insert the following after “and”:“this substantial change has been approved by the Residential Tenancies Board as qualifying under this section before the landlord notifies the tenant of any new rent,”.

Amendment put and declared lost.

Photo of Ruth CoppingerRuth Coppinger (Dublin West, Anti-Austerity Alliance)
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I move amendment No. 10 to amendment No. 55:

To delete subsection (6).

Amendment put and declared lost.

Photo of Eamon RyanEamon Ryan (Dublin Bay South, Green Party)
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I move amendment No. 11 to amendment No. 55:

To delete subsections (6) and (7) and substitute the following:

“(6) The regulation of rent increases in terms of the Consumer Price Index applies retrospectively to all tenancies.”.

Amendment put and declared lost.

Photo of Jan O'SullivanJan O'Sullivan (Limerick City, Labour)
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I move amendment No. 12 to amendment No. 55:

In the definition of “rent pressure zone” in subsection (7), to delete all words from and including “means an area” down to and including “section 24A.”.”.” and substitute “means the State.”.”.

Amendment put and declared lost.

Photo of Brendan HowlinBrendan Howlin (Wexford, Labour)
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This morning I was promised a note or briefing on the definition of rent reviews that I have not received. I would like to receive that before we make a decision.

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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The Deputy had left the Chamber at the time. I asked that the written note be sent to the Deputy's office. I understand that it was sent. I do not have it here with me. It was e-mailed. I can confirm that.

Photo of Brendan HowlinBrendan Howlin (Wexford, Labour)
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I seek assurance. This morning, the Minister said that the definition was in the Act of 2004. I rechecked the 2004 Act and there is no definition in it. Where is the definition? The Minister might inform me of where it is.

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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What I said to the Deputy was that I would provide a briefing for him on the questions that he had asked. My officials sent that briefing to his office because I had no way of contacting him directly.

Photo of Dara CallearyDara Calleary (Mayo, Fianna Fail)
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They are after spending five years together in the Cabinet. Surely the Minister has Deputy's Howlin's phone number.

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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I do not have the briefing here. Deputy Howlin asked for it personally so I sent it on.

Amendment put:

The Dáil divided: Tá, 52; Staon, 24; Níl, 43.


Tellers: Tá, Deputies Regina Doherty and Tony McLoughlin; Níl, Deputies Aengus Ó Snodaigh and Eoin Ó Broin.

Maria Bailey, Seán Barrett, Colm Brophy, Richard Bruton, Peter Burke, Catherine Byrne, Seán Canney, Ciarán Cannon, Joe Carey, Marcella Corcoran Kennedy, Simon Coveney, Michael Creed, Michael D'Arcy, Pat Deering, Regina Doherty, Paschal Donohoe, Andrew Doyle, Bernard Durkan, Damien English, Alan Farrell, Frances Fitzgerald, Michael Fitzmaurice, Peter Fitzpatrick, Charles Flanagan, Noel Grealish, Brendan Griffin, Simon Harris, Martin Heydon, Heather Humphreys, Paul Kehoe, Enda Kenny, Seán Kyne, Michael Lowry, Helen McEntee, Finian McGrath, Joe McHugh, Tony McLoughlin, Josepha Madigan, Mary Mitchell O'Connor, Dara Murphy, Eoghan Murphy, Hildegarde Naughton, Tom Neville, Kate O'Connell, Patrick O'Donovan, Fergus O'Dowd, John Paul Phelan, Noel Rock, Shane Ross, David Stanton, Leo Varadkar, Katherine Zappone.

Níl

Gerry Adams, Mick Barry, Richard Boyd Barrett, John Brady, Tommy Broughan, Joan Collins, Michael Collins, Catherine Connolly, Ruth Coppinger, Seán Crowe, David Cullinane, Clare Daly, Pearse Doherty, Dessie Ellis, Kathleen Funchion, Séamus Healy, Brendan Howlin, Alan Kelly, Gino Kenny, Martin Kenny, Mary Lou McDonald, Catherine Martin, Denise Mitchell, Imelda Munster, Catherine Murphy, Paul Murphy, Carol Nolan, Eoin Ó Broin, Aengus Ó Snodaigh, Jonathan O'Brien, Louise O'Reilly, Jan O'Sullivan, Maureen O'Sullivan, Willie Penrose, Thomas Pringle, Brendan Ryan, Eamon Ryan, Seán Sherlock, Róisín Shortall, Bríd Smith, Brian Stanley, Peadar Tóibín, Mick Wallace.

Staon

Bobby Aylward, James Browne, Mary Butler, Thomas Byrne, Jackie Cahill, Dara Calleary, Pat Casey, Shane Cassells, Jack Chambers, Barry Cowen, John Curran, Seán Fleming, Seán Haughey, Billy Kelleher, John Lahart, James Lawless, Marc MacSharry, Charlie McConalogue, Aindrias Moynihan, Margaret Murphy O'Mahony, Kevin O'Keeffe, Fiona O'Loughlin, Frank O'Rourke, Robert Troy.

Amendment declared carried.

Amendment No. 56 not moved.

6:50 pm

Photo of Mick WallaceMick Wallace (Wexford, Independent)
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I move amendment No. 57:

In page 38, between lines 11 and 12, to insert the following:“Amendment of section 19 of Act of 2004
32.Section 19 of the Act of 2004 is amended by the insertion of the following after “at that time” in subsection (1):
“Market rent is defined as the average price per square metre of a property with equivalent fittings and finish in the same municipal district or local electoral area, as applicable. The average price per square metre in a given area shall be calculated using the data gathered and published in accordance with section 151, subsection (1), paragraph (fb) (as inserted below).”.”.

Amendment put and declared lost.

Photo of Mick WallaceMick Wallace (Wexford, Independent)
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I move amendment No. 58:

In page 38, between lines 11 and 12, to insert the following:“Insertion of section 19A in Act of 2004
32.The Act of 2004 is amended by the insertion, after section 19, of the following new section:
“19A. Any subsequent setting of the rent under the tenancy by way of a review of that rent shall not be greater than the level of inflation as indicated in the Consumer Price Index as calculated by the Central Statistics Office at the time of the rent review.”.”.

Amendment put and declared lost.

Photo of Seán Ó FearghaílSeán Ó Fearghaíl (Ceann Comhairle; Kildare South, Ceann Comhairle)
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Amendments Nos. 59, 65 and 100 to 103, inclusive, are related and may be discussed together.

Photo of Ruth CoppingerRuth Coppinger (Dublin West, Anti-Austerity Alliance)
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I move amendment No. 59:

In page 38, between lines 11 and 12, to insert the following:“Amendment of section 5 (“relevant date”, “landlord”, “tenant”, “lease”, etc.) of Act of 2004
32. Section 5(1) of the Act of 2004 is amended by deleting the definition of “landlord” and substituting the following:
“ ‘landlord’ means the person for the time being entitled to receive (otherwise than as agent for another person, excepting where that person is acting as receiver) the rent paid in respect of a dwelling by

the tenant thereof and, where the context so admits, includes a person who has ceased to be so entitled by reason of the termination of the tenancy. For the avoidance of doubt, ‘landlord’ also means any lender, financial institution, equity fund or investment fund that has taken possession of a dwelling that is the subject of an existing tenancy but where no receiver has been appointed.”.”.

Photo of Barry CowenBarry Cowen (Offaly, Fianna Fail)
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I wish to speak on amendment No. 100. Fianna Fáil wishes to raise the issue that in the case where a receiver is appointed, the same receiver would have the same obligations as a landlord, as per the various rules, regulations and obligations that are in the legislation in this instance.

It is my understanding that the Minister may have legal opinion to suggest otherwise. If that is the case, we need to hear it. Obviously, it is the Attorney General's advice. Was it not made available to him during the passage of the legislation through the Seanad? If not, why not, and why was it done subsequently? Is that legal advice such that it may have the potential for the Bill to fall at a later date if this section was challenged? If that is the case, as in the previous instance, we will withdraw the amendment but would again seek clarification and a commitment from the Minister on the record of the House that he will write to us in the new year confirming his intention to provide amending legislation along the lines intended in this amendment, with a view to it having the legal backing of the Attorney General.

6:55 pm

Photo of Jan O'SullivanJan O'Sullivan (Limerick City, Labour)
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I had also marked this one to seek clarity on the reason the Minister was removing this section because an issue we were concerned about is clarification on the role of the receiver regarding tenants in that circumstance. I was happy that it was included so I seek clarity on why it is being taken out.

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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We are trying to ensure that receivers take on the responsibilities of landlords legally, where possible, to try to protect tenants in cases of receivership. We have committed in the rental strategy to setting up a working group with the Department of Justice and Equality to do that. An amendment was tabled by Fianna Fáil in the Seanad essentially to require receivers to take on the legal responsibilities of landlords, which in principle we agree with, but at the time we were concerned about because there are many complex legal issues that need to be teased out. My advise is very strong on this, namely, that we need to work with the Department of Justice and Equality to make sure we tease out those issues as opposed to simply amending legislation in the way that is being proposed here.

My commitment on this is clear. I have an agreement with the Minister for Justice and Equality to work through the issues concerned to improve the protection of tenants in the case of receivership and, where possible legally, to transfer the obligations of a landlord onto a receiver in such circumstances. I would ask the House to work with me on this. We will move forward on this in the new year in a genuine way but in a way that is legally sound. I do not want to compromise the Bill legally by attempting to do something now that I have legal advice that suggests is not legally sound.

Photo of Barry CowenBarry Cowen (Offaly, Fianna Fail)
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Perhaps the Minister's last sentence confirmed this. He said earlier that he had an agreement with the Department of Justice and Equality to work with it with a view to bringing forward the sort of legislation we wished to see and we had hoped would be provided by virtue of our amendment and that we achieved in the Seanad, to which the Minister alluded. Can the Minister confirm that the advice he has now is that of the Attorney General?

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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It is, yes.

Photo of Barry CowenBarry Cowen (Offaly, Fianna Fail)
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On that basis, we will withdraw the amendment but acknowledge the Minister's commitment to provide that in writing to us.

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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I will come back to this.

Photo of Ruth CoppingerRuth Coppinger (Dublin West, Anti-Austerity Alliance)
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I will be pressing my amendment anyway, so the Deputy can withdraw all he likes. It is very important, actually.

Amendment put and declared lost.

Photo of Ruth CoppingerRuth Coppinger (Dublin West, Anti-Austerity Alliance)
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I move amendment No. 60:

In page 38, between lines 11 and 12, to insert the following:

“Amendment of section 19 of Act of 2004 to introduce emergency rent controls linked to the Consumer Price Index for all existing rental dwellings, both between and within tenancies

32. The Act of 2004 is amended by the substitution of the following for section 19:“19. (1) In setting the rent under a tenancy for a dwelling that has previously been the subject of a tenancy, an amount of rent shall not be provided for that is greater than the amount of rent last set for that dwelling, whether under that tenancy or a previous tenancy, plus the rate of inflation since the rent was last set, as indicated in the latest Consumer Price Index calculated by the Central Statistics Office.

(2) In setting the rent under a tenancy for a dwelling that has not previously been the subject of a tenancy, an amount of rent shall not be provided for that is greater than the amount of rent currently charged for 3 dwellings of similar size, type and character, and situated in a comparable area, as notified to the Residential Tenancies Board.

(3) In this section, ‘the rent last set for that dwelling’ is a reference to the rent last notified in respect of the dwelling in question to the Residential Tenancies Board.”.”.

Amendment put and declared lost.

Photo of Ruth CoppingerRuth Coppinger (Dublin West, Anti-Austerity Alliance)
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I move amendment No. 61:

In page 38, between lines 11 and 12, to insert the following:

“Report on a permanent system of rent controls and the massive expansion of social and affordable housing needed to reduce rents to affordable levels

32. The Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government is to report within three months of the enactment of the Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Act 2016 on the measures needed to establish a permanent system of rent controls that in combination with a massive increase in direct build and acquisition of social and affordable housing by the State would permanently reduce rents from their current unaffordable levels.”.

Amendment put and declared lost.

Photo of Ruth CoppingerRuth Coppinger (Dublin West, Anti-Austerity Alliance)
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I move amendment No. 62:

In page 38, between lines 11 and 12, to insert the following:

“Amendment of section 22(2) of Act of 2004 to extend the notice period for new rents to 180 days

32. Section 22(2) of the Act of 2004 is amended by substituting “180 days” for “90 days”.”.

Amendment put and declared lost.

Photo of Jan O'SullivanJan O'Sullivan (Limerick City, Labour)
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I move amendment No. 63:

In page 38, between lines 11 and 12, to insert the following:

“Setting of rent increases above rate of inflation prohibited

“32. The Principal Act is amended by inserting the following after section 19A:“Setting of rent increases above rate of inflation prohibited

19B. (1) Without prejudice to section 19 and notwithstanding anything in section 19A, in setting at any particular time—
(a) the initial rent under the tenancy of a dwelling that was the subject to a tenancy in the previous year, and

(b) any subsequent rent under the tenancy of a dwelling, by way of a review of that rent, a landlord may not increase the annual rent payable under the tenancy of a dwelling by more than the change in the consumer price index (if any) since the rent was last set.
(2) For the purposes of this subsection (1), ‘change in the consumer price index’ means the difference between—
(a) the All Items Consumer Price Index Number last published by the Central Statistics Office before the date of the increase in rent, and

(b) the Number last published before the date when the rent was last set, expressed as a percentage of the first-mentioned number.
(3) Where a landlord satisfies the Board that he or she has carried out improvement works that result in an increase in the letting value of the dwelling, other than works carried out under—
(a) section 12(1)(b)(i) or (ii),

(b) section 12(1)(g), or

(c) otherwise to ensure compliance with any standards for houses for the time being prescribed under section 18 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1992, the annual rent payable under the tenancy of the dwelling may be increased—

(i) if the total cost of the improvement works, does not exceed €50,000, by not more than 10 per cent of the total cost,

(ii) if the total cost of the improvement works exceeds €50,000, by €5,000 plus not more than 7.5 per cent of the amount by which the total cost exceeds €50,000.
(4) In any dispute as to the amount of increase in the rent payable under the tenancy of a dwelling that is claimed to be attributable to improvement works, the onus shall be on the landlord to establish—
(a) the increase in the letting value of the dwelling attributable to the improvement works, and

(b) the costs of the improvement works.
(5) No provision of any lease, tenancy agreement, contract or other agreement (whether entered into before, on or after the coming into operation of this section) may operate to vary, modify or restrict in any way a provision of this section: Provided that this subsection does not prevent the parties from entering into an agreement in respect of the rent payable under a lease or tenancy agreement which is more favourable to the tenant as to its terms than those which would apply under this Part.”.”.

Amendment put and declared lost.

Photo of Eamon RyanEamon Ryan (Dublin Bay South, Green Party)
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I move amendment No. 64:

In page 38, between lines 11 and 12, to insert the following:

“Insertion of section 19A in the Act of 2004

32. The Act of 2004 is amended by the insertion, after section 19, of the following new section:

“19A. Any subsequent setting of the rent under the tenancy by way of a review of that rent shall not be greater or less than the level of inflation as indicated in the Consumer Price Index as calculated by the Central Statistics Office at the time of the rent review.”.”.

Amendment put and declared lost.

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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I move amendment No. 65:

In page 38, between lines 11 and 12, to insert the following:

“32. Section 5(1) of the Act of 2004 is amended by deleting the definition of “landlord” and substituting the following:

“ ‘landlord’ means the person for the time being entitled to receive (otherwise than as agent for another person, excepting where that person is acting as receiver) the rent paid in respect of a dwelling by the tenant thereof and, where the context so admits, includes a person who has ceased to be so entitled by reason of the termination of the tenancy;”.”.

Amendment put and declared lost.

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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I move amendment No. 66:

In page 38, between lines 11 and 12, to insert the following:

“32. The Minister, within 3 months of the passing of the Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Act 2016 into law, shall bring a report to the Dáil on the options available for implementing rent controls, bringing rents to affordable levels and providing security of tenure for tenants.”.

Amendment put and declared lost.

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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I move amendment No. 67:

In page 38, to delete lines 13 and 14 and substitute the following:

“32. Section 22 of the Act of 2004 is amended in subsection (2A)—(a) by substituting “paragraph (c)” for “paragraph (d)” in paragraph (d), and

(b) by deleting “and” where it last occurs in paragraph (d), substituting “signed, and” for “signed.” in paragraph (e) and inserting the following paragraph after paragraph (e):
“(f) where the dwelling is in a rent pressure zone (within the meaning given in section 19(7)), state how the rent set under the tenancy was calculated having regard to section 19(4) or, where section 19(4) does not apply, state why it does not apply.”.”.

Photo of Ruth CoppingerRuth Coppinger (Dublin West, Anti-Austerity Alliance)
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I move amendment No. 1 to amendment No. 67:

In paragraph (b), to insert following after paragraph (f):

“(g) where section 19(4) does not apply, include a certificate from the Residential Tenancies Board stating its approval that the Rent Pressure Zone does not apply to the dwelling.”.”.

Amendment to amendment put and declared lost.

Amendment agreed to.

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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I move amendment No. 68:

In page 38, between lines 14 and 15, to insert the following:

“Rent pressure zones and areas deemed to be rent pressure zones

33. The Act of 2004 is amended by inserting the following sections after section 24:

“Rent pressure zones

24A. (1) The Housing Agency, following consultation with the relevant housing authority, may make a proposal in writing to the Minister that an area be prescribed by order as a rent pressure zone.

(2) As soon as practicable, but no later than 2 weeks after the date of receipt of the proposal under subsection (1), the Minister shall request the Director to make a report to the Minister (in this section referred to as a ‘rent zone report’), in such form as the Minister may approve, on whether, in so far as the area the subject of the proposal is concerned, the criteria specified in subsection (4) for designation as a rent pressure zone are satisfied.

(3) As soon as practicable after the date that the Minister made the request under subsection (2), the Director shall furnish the Minister with the rent zone report.

(4) In making a rent zone report to the Minister, the Director shall confirm whether or not the following criteria have been met—

(a) the information relating to the area concerned, as determined by reference to the information used to compile each Rent Index quarterly report, shows that the annual rate of increase in the average amount of rent for that area is more than 7 per cent in each of at least 4 of the 6 quarters (each being a period of 3 months that is contemporaneous with the period to which the Rent Index quarterly report concerned relates) preceding the period immediately prior to the date of the proposal by the Housing Agency to the Minister under subsection (1), and

(b) the average rent for the area in the last quarter, as determined by reference to the manner referred to in paragraph (a), is above the average national rent (commonly referred to as the Rent Index national standardised rent) in the last quarter.

(5) Where the Minister receives a rent zone report from the Director and the report confims that the criteria in subsection (4) are satisfied, the Minister shall by order prescribe the area as a rent pressure zone for a specified period not exceeding 3 years.

(6) Where a local electoral area is prescribed by order as a rent pressure zone and, subsequently, any local electoral areas are duly amended in a manner that affects the area of the local electoral area so prescribed, 21 then the order shall continue to have effect as if the local electoral area concerned had not been so amended.

(7) The Minister may, on a recommendation from the Housing Agency, by order revoke an order made under subsection (5) or a deemed order under section 24B and, accordingly, section 8(3) does not apply to any such order or deemed order.

(8) In making a recommendation under subsection (7), the Housing Agency shall consider and provide a report to the Minister, on such matters as may be prescribed having regard to—

(a) the operation of the rental market,

(b) the operation of the housing market, and

(c) changes in rent levels in the period since the area concerned was designated as a rent pressure zone;

and, before making such a recommendation and providing a report under this subsection, the Housing Agency shall consult with the Board and the housing authority concerned on the matter.

(9) The Board shall publish, in such manner as it thinks fit, a notice of the making of an order by the Minister under subsection (5) or (7).

(10) In this section—

‘area’ means—

(a) the administrative area of a housing authority, or

(b) a local electoral area within the meaning of section 2 of the Local Government Act 2001;

‘Housing Agency’ has the same meaning as it has in the Pyrite Resolution Act 2013;

‘Rent Index quarterly reports’ has the meaning given in the definition of ‘Rent Index’;

‘Rent Index’ means the publication known as the Residential Tenancies Board Rent Index which is published by the Board in respect of each successive period of 3 months in every calendar year (in this section referred to as ‘Rent Index quarterly reports’) pursuant to its functions under section 151(1)(e) and includes any other publication that it replaced or may replace it for the purposes of those functions.

Areas deemed to be rent pressure zones

24B. With effect from the relevant date (within the meaning of section 19(7)) and notwithstanding anything to the contrary in section 24A, orders under subsection (5) of that section shall be deemed to have been made in respect of the administrative areas of each of the following housing 22 authorities:

(a) Cork City Council;

(b) Dublin City Council;

(c) Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council;

(d) Fingal County Council;

(e) South Dublin County Council;

and, accordingly, each of those areas is deemed to be a rent pressure zone from the relevant date for a period of 3 years.

Application of section 20 (frequency with which rent reviews may occur) to rent pressure zones

24C. (1) Where a tenancy commenced before the relevant date (within the meaning of section 19(7)) and the area in which the tenancy is situated is in a rent pressure zone (within the meaning of that section), then—

(a) the first rent review after the relevant date shall be carried out in accordance with section 20, and

(b) any subsequent rent review shall be carried out as if subsections (4) to (6) of section 20 had not been enacted.

(2) Where a tenancy commences on or after the relevant date (within the meaning of section 19(7)), and the area in which the tenancy is situated is in a rent pressure zone (within the meaning of that section), then any rent review after that date shall be carried out as if subsections (4) to (6) of section 20 had not been enacted.”.”.

Photo of Seán Ó FearghaílSeán Ó Fearghaíl (Ceann Comhairle; Kildare South, Ceann Comhairle)
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There are 17 amendments to amendment No. 68 in the name of the Minister.

Photo of Catherine MurphyCatherine Murphy (Kildare North, Social Democrats)
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I move amendment No. 1 to amendment No. 68:

To delete the proposed amendment no. 68 and substitute the following:

“33. With effect from the relevant date (within the meaning of section 19(8)) and notwithstanding anything to the contrary, the setting of rent in line with the Consumer Price Index shall be applicable to all tenancy agreements across the country.”.

Amendment No. 1 to amendment No. 68 put and declared lost.

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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I move amendment No. 2 to amendment No. 68:

To delete section 24A and substitute the following:

24A. (1)The Housing Agency, or a Local Authority, following consultation with the relevant housing authority, may make a proposal in writing to the Minister that an area be prescribed by order as a rent pressure zone.

(2) The Dáil may, by resolution, and following consultation with the relevant housing authority, make a proposal in writing to the Minister that an area be prescribed by order as a rent pressure zone.

(3) As soon as practicable, but no later than 2 weeks after the date of receipt of the proposal under subsection (1) or subsection (2), the Minister shall request the Director to make a report to the Minister (in this section referred to as a ‘rent zone report’), in such form as the Minister may approve, on whether, in so far as the area the subject of the proposal is concerned, the criteria specified in subsection (4) for designation as a rent pressure zone are satisfied.

(4) As soon as practicable after the date that the Minister made the request under subsection (2), the Director shall furnish the Minister with the rent zone report.

(5) In making a rent zone report to the Minister, the Director shall confirm whether or not the information relating to the area concerned, as determined by reference to the information used to compile each Rent Index quarterly report, shows that the annual rate of increase in the average amount of rent for that area is more than the CPI and/or greater than the average industrial wage increase in the last 12 months preceding the period immediately prior to the date of the proposal by the Housing Agency, Local Authority or Dáil to the Minister under subsections (1) and (2).

(6) Where the Minister receives a rent zone report from the Director and the report confirms that the criteria in subsection (4) are satisfied, the Minister shall by order prescribe the area as a rent pressure zone for a specified period not less than 3 years.

(7) Where a local electoral area is prescribed by order as a rent pressure zone and, subsequently, any local electoral areas are duly amended in a manner that affects the area of the local electoral area so prescribed, then the order shall continue to have effect as if the local electoral area concerned had not been so amended.

(8) The Minister may, on a recommendation from the Housing Agency or Dáil or Local Authority, by order revoke an order made under subsection (5) or a deemed order under section 24B and, accordingly, subsection 8(3) does not apply to any such order or deemed order.

(9) In making a recommendation under subsection (7), the Housing Agency or Dáil or Local Authority shall consider and provide a report to the Minister, on such matters as may be prescribed having regard to—

(a) the operation of the rental market,

(b) the operation of the housing market,

(c) changes in rent levels in the period since the area concerned was designated as a rent pressure zone,

(d) levels of homelessness,

(e) changes in Consumer Price Index,

(f) changes in the Average Industrial Wage,

and, before making such a recommendation and providing a report under this subsection the Housing Agency shall consult with the Board and the housing authority concerned on the matter.

(10) The Board shall publish, in such manner as it thinks fit, a notice of the making of an order by the Minister under subsection (5) or (7).

(11) In this section—

‘area’ means—

(a) the administrative area of a housing authority, or

(b) a local electoral area within the meaning of section 2 of the Local Government Act 2001;

‘Housing Agency’ has the same meaning as it has in the Pyrite Resolution Act 2013;

‘Rent Index quarterly reports’ has the meaning given in the definition of ‘Rent Index’;

‘Rent Index’ means the publication known as the Residential Tenancies Board Rent Index which is published by the Board in respect of each successive period of 3 months in every calendar year (in this section referred to as ‘Rent Index quarterly reports’) pursuant to its functions under section 151(1)(e) and includes any other publication that it replaced or may replace it for the purposes of those functions.”.

Amendment No. 2 to amendment No. 68 put and declared lost.

Photo of Barry CowenBarry Cowen (Offaly, Fianna Fail)
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I move amendment No. 3 to amendment No. 68:

In section 24A(2), to delete “no later than 2 weeks” and substitute “no later than 1 week”.

The Minister accepted amendments Nos. 3 and 4 to amendment No. 68 earlier.

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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This is about the shortening of time.

Photo of Barry CowenBarry Cowen (Offaly, Fianna Fail)
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We are supportive of that amendment.

Amendment No. 3 to amendment No. 68 agreed to.

Photo of Barry CowenBarry Cowen (Offaly, Fianna Fail)
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I move amendment No. 4 to amendment No. 68:

In section 24A(3), to delete “As soon as practicable” and substitute “Within 2 weeks”.

Amendment No. 4 to amendment No. 68 agreed to.

Photo of Ruth CoppingerRuth Coppinger (Dublin West, Anti-Austerity Alliance)
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Deputy Cowen is getting amazing concessions.

Photo of Seán Ó FearghaílSeán Ó Fearghaíl (Ceann Comhairle; Kildare South, Ceann Comhairle)
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Are you questioning the procedure, Deputy?

(Interruptions).

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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We are going well. Let us keep it going.

Photo of Barry CowenBarry Cowen (Offaly, Fianna Fail)
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I move amendment No. 5 to amendment No. 68:

In section 24A(4), to delete “and” at the end of paragraph (a) and substitute “or”.

Amendment No. 5 to amendment No. 68, by leave, withdrawn.

Photo of Ruth CoppingerRuth Coppinger (Dublin West, Anti-Austerity Alliance)
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I move amendment No. 6 to amendment No. 68:

In section 24A(4)(a), to delete “at least 4 of the 6 quarters” and substitute ‘‘at least 2 of the 6 quarters”.

Is the Minister not agreeing this amendment?

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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Níl, I am afraid.

Amendment No. 6 to amendment No. 68 put and declared lost.

Photo of Ruth CoppingerRuth Coppinger (Dublin West, Anti-Austerity Alliance)
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I thought I would chance my arm.

I move amendment No. 7 to amendment No. 68:

To delete subsection 24A(4)(b).

Amendment No. 7 to amendment No. 68 put and declared lost.

Amendment No. 8 to amendment No. 68 not moved.

7:05 pm

Photo of Ruth CoppingerRuth Coppinger (Dublin West, Anti-Austerity Alliance)
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I move amendment No. 9 to amendment No. 68:

In section 24A(5), to delete "zone for a specified period not exceeding 3 years"

Amendment No. 9 to amendment No. 68 put and declared lost.

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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I move amendment No. 10 to amendment No. 68:

To delete section 24B and substitute the following:"24B.With effect from the relevant date (within the meaning of section 19(7)) and notwithstanding anything to the contrary in section 24A, orders under subsection (5) of that section shall be deemed to have been made in respect of the administrative areas of each of the following housing authorities:
(a) Cork City Council;

(b) Dublin City Council;

(c) Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council;

(d) Fingal County Council;

(e) South Dublin County Council;

(f) Limerick City and County Council;

(g) Galway County Council;

(h) Wicklow County Council;

(i) Meath County Council;

(j) Kildare County Council;

(k) Louth County Council;
and, accordingly, each of those areas is deemed to be a rent pressure zone from the relevant date for a period of not less than 3 years.".

Amendment No. 10 to amendment No. 68 put and declared lost.

Photo of Eoin Ó BroinEoin Ó Broin (Dublin Mid West, Sinn Fein)
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I move amendment No. 11 to amendment No. 68:

In section 24B(1), to insert following after paragraph (e):"(f) Cork County Council;

(g) Limerick City and County Council;

(h) Waterford City and County Council;

(i) Galway City Council;

(j) any Local Electoral Areas or District Electoral Divisions where rent price inflation has been 5 per cent or above on the preceding 12 months as determined by the Residential Tenancies Board National Rent Index,".

Amendment No. 11 to amendment No. 68 put and declared lost.

Amendment No. 12 to amendment No. 68 not moved.

Photo of Ruth CoppingerRuth Coppinger (Dublin West, Anti-Austerity Alliance)
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I move amendment No. 13 to amendment No. 68:

In section 24B(1), to insert the following after paragraph (e):"(f) Cork County Council;

(g) Kildare County Council;

(h) Meath County Council;

(i) Laois County Council;

(j) Galway City Council;

(k) Wicklow County Council;".

Amendment No. 13 to amendment No. 68put and declared lost.

Photo of Ruth CoppingerRuth Coppinger (Dublin West, Anti-Austerity Alliance)
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I move amendment No. 14 to amendment No. 68:

In section 24C(1), to insert the following new paragraph:"(c) for the avoidance of doubt, the rent increase in such a first rent review cannot exceed the maximum rent increase limit prescribed for rent pressure zones.".

Amendment No. 14to amendment No. 68put and declared lost.

Amendments Nos. 15 to 17, inclusive, to amendment No. 68 not moved.

Amendment No. 68, as amended, put and declared carried.

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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I move amendment No. 69:

In page 38, between lines 14 and 15, to insert the following:
"Part 4 tenancies and extension of period from 4 years to 6 years
33.(1) Section 28 of the Act of 2004 is amended in subsection (2) by substituting "6 years" for "4 years" in both places where it occurs.

(2) The provisions of the Act of 2004 referred to in column (2) of Part 1 of the Schedule are amended in the manner referred to in column (3) of that Part opposite the reference in column (2) to the provision concerned.

(3) This section applies to all tenancies created after the coming into operation of this section.".

Amendment No. 1 to amendment No. 69 not moved.

Photo of Eamon RyanEamon Ryan (Dublin Bay South, Green Party)
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I move amendment No. 2 to amendment No. 69:

In subsection (1), to delete "6 years" and substitute "an indefinite period".

Amendment No. 2 to amendment No. 69 put and declared lost.

Amendment No. 69 agreed to.

Photo of Mick WallaceMick Wallace (Wexford, Independent)
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I move amendment No. 70:

In page 38, between lines 14 and 15, to insert the following:"Amendment of section 28 of Act of 2004
33. Section 28 of the Act of 2004 is amended—
(a) in subsection (2)(a)—
(i) by the deletion of "unless paragraph (b) applies,", and

(ii) by the substitution of "for an indefinite period from" for "for the period of 4 years from",
(b) by the deletion of "or" after subsection (2)(a), and

(c) by the deletion of subsection (2)(b).".

Amendment put and declared lost.

Photo of Ruth CoppingerRuth Coppinger (Dublin West, Anti-Austerity Alliance)
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I move amendment No. 71:

In page 38, between lines 14 and 15, to insert the following:"Amendment of sections 27, 28(1) and 28(3) of Act of 2004 to extend Part 4 protections to all tenancies over two months in duration
33. (1) Section 27 of the Act of 2004 is amended by the substitution of—
(a) "continuous period of 2 months" for "continuous period of 6 months", and

(b) by the substitution of "continuous period of 2 months" for "continuous period of 6 months".
(2) Section 28(1) of the Act of 2004 is amended by the substitution of "continuous period of 2 months" for "continuous period of 6 months".

(3) Section 28(3) of the Act of 2004 is amended by the substitution of "expiry of the period of 2 months” for “expiry of the period of 6 months".

(4) Section 50(3) of the Act of 2004 is amended by the substitution of—
(a) "continuous period of 2 months" for "continuous period of 6 months", and

(b) by the substitution of "expiry of that period of 2 months" for "expiry of that period of 6 months".".

Amendment put and declared lost.

Photo of Ruth CoppingerRuth Coppinger (Dublin West, Anti-Austerity Alliance)
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I move amendment No. 72:

In page 38, between lines 14 and 15, to insert the following:"Amendment of section 28(2)(a) and section 34 of Act of 2004 to make Part 4 tenancies indefinite
33. (1) Section 28(2)(a) of the Act of 2004 is amended by the substitution of “for an indefinite period from” for “for the period of 4 years from”.

(2) Section 34(b) of the Act of 2004 is hereby repealed.

(3) Chapter 4 of the Act of 2004 is hereby repealed.

(4) Chapter 5 of the Act of 2004 is hereby repealed.

(5) Section 55(1) is amended by the deletion of "or a further Part 4 tenancy".

(6) Section 55(2) is amended by—
(a) the deletion of "Neither—" and "nor",

(b) the deletion of section 55(2)(b), and

(c) the substitution of "shall not be regarded" for "shall be regarded"”.
(7) Section 56(1)(a) is amended by the deletion of ", or under a further Part 4 tenancy,".

(8) Section 57(b) is amended by the deletion of "or a further Part 4 tenancy".".

Amendment put and declared lost.

Photo of Jan O'SullivanJan O'Sullivan (Limerick City, Labour)
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I move amendment No. 73:

In page 38, between lines 14 and 15, to insert the following:"Restriction on termination of certain tenancies by landlords
33. The Act of 2004 is amended in section 34 by substituting the following for paragraph 3 of the Table:
"3. The landlord intends, within 3 months after the termination of the tenancy under this section, to enter into an enforceable agreement for the transfer to another, for full consideration, of the whole of his or her interest in the dwelling or the property containing the dwelling. This paragraph does not apply to a landlord—
(a) of a dwelling that was purchased with borrowed money for the purpose of its being let,

(b) of a dwelling in respect of which rented residential relief (commonly known as section 23 relief) under Chapter 11 of Part 10 of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 is or has been claimed, or

(c) who is landlord of three or more dwellings.".".

Amendment put and declared lost.

Photo of Eamon RyanEamon Ryan (Dublin Bay South, Green Party)
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I move amendment No. 74:

In page 38, between lines 14 and 15, to insert the following:"Amendment of section 28 of Act of 2004
33. The Act of 2004 is amended in section 28(2)(a) by the substitution of "for an indefinite period from" for "for the period of 4 years from".".

Amendment put and declared lost.

Photo of Eoin Ó BroinEoin Ó Broin (Dublin Mid West, Sinn Fein)
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I move amendment No. 75:

In page 38, between lines 14 and 15, to insert the following:"Amendment of section 28 of Act of 2004
33. The Act of 2004 is amended in section 28(2)(a) by the substitution of "for the period of ten years from" for "for the period of 4 years from".".

Amendment put and declared lost.

Photo of Eoin Ó BroinEoin Ó Broin (Dublin Mid West, Sinn Fein)
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I move amendment No. 76:

In page 38, between lines 14 and 15, to insert the following:"Amendment of section 28 of Act of 2004
33. The Act of 2004 is amended by the insertion of the following new subsection:
"(5) The Minster may by way of regulation extend the duration of a Part 4 tenancy from ten years to a period of indefinite duration.".".

Amendment put and declared lost.

Photo of Mick WallaceMick Wallace (Wexford, Independent)
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I move amendment No. 77:

In page 38, to delete lines 15 to 17.

Amendment put and declared lost.

Photo of Ruth CoppingerRuth Coppinger (Dublin West, Anti-Austerity Alliance)
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I move amendment No. 78:

In page 38, to delete lines 15 to 17 and substitute the following:"33. (1) The Act of 2004 is amended by the deletion of paragraph 3 of the Table to section 34.

(2) Paragraph 4(b)(ii) of the Table to section 34 is amended by the substitution of "the ground specified in paragraph 1, 2 or 6 of this Table" for "the ground specified in paragraph 1, 2, 3 or 6 of this Table".

(3) Section 56(c)(i) is hereby repealed.

(4) The Act of 2004 is amended by the deletion of paragraph c(i) of the Table to section 56.".

Amendment put and declared lost.

Photo of Mick WallaceMick Wallace (Wexford, Independent)
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I move amendment No. 79:

In page 38, between lines 17 and 18, to insert the following:"Amendment of section 34 of Act of 2004
34. Section 34 of the Act of 2004 is amended—
(a) by the deletion of paragraph 3 of the Table to section 34,

(b) by the deletion of "or" after subparagraph (a) and the deletion of subparagraph (b), and

(c) by the deletion of paragraph 4 of the Table to section 34.".

Amendment put and declared lost.

Photo of Séamus HealySéamus Healy (Tipperary, Workers and Unemployed Action Group)
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I move amendment No. 80:

In page 38, between lines 17 and 18, to insert the following:"Restriction on termination of tenancies of buy-to-let dwellings
34.The Residential Tenancies Act 2004 is amended by inserting the following section after section 34:
"Restriction on termination of tenancies of buy-to-let dwellings
34A.(1) A Part 4 tenancy may not be terminated by the landlord on the ground specified in paragraph 3 of the Table to section 34 where the property to which the tenancy agreement relates is the subject of an existing investment mortgage.

(2) Subsection (1) applies to all tenancies, including a tenancy created before the coming into operation of this section.

(3) Where, immediately before the coming into operation of this section, a notice of termination has been served on a tenant in reliance upon a ground provided for in paragraph 3 of the Table to section 34, section 34 shall continue to apply to that notice as if this section had not been enacted.

(4) In this section, 'investment mortgage' means a mortgage which has been taken out as security in respect of a residential property that was not at the time of its purchase intended to serve as the principal private residence of the mortgagee, and is subsequently the subject of a tenancy agreement.".".

Amendment put:

The Dáil divided: Tá, 43; Staon, 25; Níl, 52.


Tellers: Tá, Deputies Seamus Healy and Paul Murphy; Níl, Deputies Regina Doherty and Tony McLoughlin.

Gerry Adams, Mick Barry, Richard Boyd Barrett, John Brady, Tommy Broughan, Joan Collins, Michael Collins, Catherine Connolly, Ruth Coppinger, Seán Crowe, David Cullinane, Clare Daly, Pearse Doherty, Dessie Ellis, Kathleen Funchion, Séamus Healy, Brendan Howlin, Alan Kelly, Gino Kenny, Martin Kenny, Mary Lou McDonald, Catherine Martin, Denise Mitchell, Imelda Munster, Catherine Murphy, Paul Murphy, Carol Nolan, Eoin Ó Broin, Aengus Ó Snodaigh, Jonathan O'Brien, Louise O'Reilly, Jan O'Sullivan, Maureen O'Sullivan, Willie Penrose, Thomas Pringle, Brendan Ryan, Eamon Ryan, Seán Sherlock, Róisín Shortall, Bríd Smith, Brian Stanley, Peadar Tóibín, Mick Wallace.

Níl

Maria Bailey, Seán Barrett, Colm Brophy, Richard Bruton, Peter Burke, Catherine Byrne, Seán Canney, Ciarán Cannon, Joe Carey, Marcella Corcoran Kennedy, Simon Coveney, Michael Creed, Michael D'Arcy, Pat Deering, Regina Doherty, Paschal Donohoe, Andrew Doyle, Bernard Durkan, Damien English, Alan Farrell, Frances Fitzgerald, Michael Fitzmaurice, Peter Fitzpatrick, Charles Flanagan, Noel Grealish, Brendan Griffin, Simon Harris, Martin Heydon, Heather Humphreys, Paul Kehoe, Enda Kenny, Seán Kyne, Michael Lowry, Helen McEntee, Finian McGrath, Joe McHugh, Tony McLoughlin, Josepha Madigan, Mary Mitchell O'Connor, Dara Murphy, Eoghan Murphy, Hildegarde Naughton, Tom Neville, Kate O'Connell, Patrick O'Donovan, Fergus O'Dowd, John Paul Phelan, Noel Rock, Shane Ross, David Stanton, Leo Varadkar, Katherine Zappone.

Staon

Bobby Aylward, James Browne, Mary Butler, Thomas Byrne, Jackie Cahill, Dara Calleary, Pat Casey, Shane Cassells, Jack Chambers, Barry Cowen, John Curran, Timmy Dooley, Seán Fleming, Seán Haughey, Billy Kelleher, John Lahart, James Lawless, Marc MacSharry, Charlie McConalogue, Aindrias Moynihan, Margaret Murphy O'Mahony, Kevin O'Keeffe, Fiona O'Loughlin, Frank O'Rourke, Robert Troy.

Amendment declared lost.