Written answers

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government

Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

Photo of Paul MurphyPaul Murphy (Dublin South West, RISE)
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1350. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government if amendments to planning regulations will be introduced to facilitate small businesses that are no longer able to work out of their business premises as a result of the Covid-19 health measures and therefore need to operate from their home. [6197/20]

Photo of Eoghan MurphyEoghan Murphy (Dublin Bay South, Fine Gael)
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It is important to note that wherever a business operates, it will be subject to the same public health measures to protect the health of both employees and the wider public from the COVID-19 pandemic. The re-opening of businesses in the context of the pandemic should be in accordance with the terms of the Government's Roadmap for Re-Opening Society and Business, as published on 1 May 2020, and with relevant public health and health and safety advice and protocols.

With regard to planning, an individual can apply to his/her local planning authority for a determination under section 5 of the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended, as to whether any particular case is or is not development, or is or is not exempted development, within the meaning of the Act. This would inform the small business owner whether or not planning permission is required for him or her to operate from his or her home.

The granting of planning permission or a declaration that development is exempted development does not solely authorise development, including ‘change of use’ of premises, to proceed where other consents are required. The operation of a business may be subject to multiple requirements of which planning is just one. I have no plans to introduce new exempted development planning regulations allowing for the ‘change of use’ of a home to a business premises at this time.

Photo of Colm BrophyColm Brophy (Dublin South West, Fine Gael)
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1351. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government his plans to extend the Covid-19 emergency legislation for tenants past the initial 90-day period; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6201/20]

Photo of Mick BarryMick Barry (Cork North Central, Solidarity)
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1358. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government if he will consider recommending an extension of the measures to prevent evictions, serving notices of termination and rent increases due to public health measures remaining in place beyond the current deadline; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6384/20]

Photo of Eoghan MurphyEoghan Murphy (Dublin Bay South, Fine Gael)
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I propose to take Questions Nos. 1351 and 1358 together.

With effect from 27 March 2020, new emergency measures were introduced into law to protect tenants during the COVID-19 emergency period. Rent increases are prohibited and tenants cannot be forced to leave their rental accommodation, other than in exceptional circumstances, during the COVID-19 emergency period. Initially, these emergency laws will last for a period of 3 months, but they may be extended if the Government considers it is necessary.

Under the legislation, the process for any extension of the 3 month period involves the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government requesting the Government to make an Order, having consulted with the Minister for Health and with the consent of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform.  The Government must consider it appropriate and be satisfied that it is in the public interest to extend the emergency period having regard to:

- the threat to public health;

- the highly contagious nature of COVID-19; and

- the need to restrict the movement of persons to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The consideration of whether to request the Government to make an Order to extend the emergency period will be made at the appropriate time and in accordance with the relevant legislation.

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