Friday, 27 March 2020
An Bille um Bearta Éigeandála ar mhaithe le Leas an Phobail (Covid-19) 2020: Céim an Choiste agus na Céimeanna a bheidh Fágtha - Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (Covid-19) Bill 2020: Committee and Remaining Stages
I move amendment No. 64:
In page 39, after line 35, to insert the following: “PART 10
AMENDMENTS TO THE LANDLORD AND TENANT (AMENDMENT) ACT 198034. The Landlord and Tenant (Amendment) Act 1980 is amended by the insertion of the following new section after section 88:“89. (1) In this section—
‘emergency period’ means the period beginning on 26 March 2020 and ending on 31 May 2020.
(2) Any provision of a lease requiring a tenant to keep a premises open for a specified period or specified hours shall be dis-applied during the emergency period.
(3) A landlord shall not be entitled to rely on any failure on the part of a tenant to keep a premises open during the emergency period as constituting a breach of the relevant lease or tenancy pursuant to which the said premises is occupied.
(4) Any failure on the part of a tenant to keep a premises open during the emergency period shall not constitute a breach of the relevant lease or tenancy pursuant to which the said premises is occupied.”.”.
Amendment No. 64 is in connection with the scenario in which some shopping centres require shops to be open for a minimum number of hours per day and per week to ensure the viability of the shopping centre. In normal circumstances, it is understandable that a shopping centre wants to have life and vibrancy and does not want big empty premises opening and closing when it suits them. This amendment seeks that in these exceptional circumstances, we would not require tenants to keep premises open for these specified periods because there is clearly other legislation to suggest that non-food shops should not be open. This may be already covered but I was asked to table the amendment.
Rent freezes and bans on evictions already apply to residential tenants and amendment No. 67 seeks to ensure that commercial tenants would also have the same rent freeze and ban on eviction clauses applied to them.