Monday, 29 March 2021
Residential Tenancies Bill 2021: Committee and Remaining Stages
Cuirim fáilte roimh an Aire Stáit. Tá áthas orm deis a bheith agam labhairt ar an mBille seo. It is a fairly straightforward Bill which provides for an extension of the emergency provisions by three months. Those provisions may need to be reviewed again in three months' time but we all hope we will be back to some kind of semi-normal state by 12 July and that rent arrears will not be as urgent an issue. We are open to moving dates if needs be, as we are in this Bill. For now, it is unnecessary to jump to December. In the case of rent arrears, increasing the notice period from 28 days to 90 is a massive change. When I was a renter, for 20 or 30 years, that would have been a huge change for me. If one was falling behind on the rent, one only had four weeks to get it together. Ninety days, or three months, is a very significant period and would take the extension from 12 July up to 12 October. That would be a massive extension.
There must be protections for both landlords and tenants. We need to encourage people who have two or three houses to rent them to tenants. Otherwise, we will see Airbnb take over and there will be no places left to rent. There has to be some balance. I am not a landlord. I struggled in the past to find houses to rent. Much of that problem was due to Airbnb or situations where there were seasonal moneys to be made. This is a huge issue in my area of north Clare. There must be better protections for landlords. In fact, I hate the word "landlord". Homeowners with a second or third home need to have security that there will be some supports in place if tenants cannot pay. If those tenants have a genuine reason for not paying, such as having lost their job, they are supported by the State.
I welcome the Bill. There is a large number of amendments and I look forward to the debate on them. I wish the Minister of State the best of luck in progressing the Bill.