Tuesday, 16 June 2020
Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government
1087. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government his plans to extend the moratorium on evictions and revise the manner in which landlords can evict for rent arrears in view of the extreme loss of income experienced by many during the Covid-19 pandemic; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11566/20]
1088. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government if a moratorium on upward rent review will be implemented in view of the extreme loss of income experienced by many during the Covid-19 pandemic; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11567/20]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 1087 and 1088 together.
With effect from 27 March 2020, under new emergency measures introduced into law to protect tenants during the COVID-19 emergency period, tenants cannot be forced to leave their rental accommodation, other than in exceptional circumstances. The measures also prohibit any increase to rent for the duration of the emergency period. Initially, these emergency laws will last for a period of 3 months, but they may be extended if the Government considers it necessary.
Tenants are required to pay rent to their landlord during the COVID-19 emergency period and, in the event of tenants having difficulty doing so, they are encouraged to engage with their landlords at the earliest opportunity. They should also engage with the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP) as income supports and Rent Supplement are available to assist them. Further information on these supports can be found by calling the DEASP Income Support Helpline for Covid-19 on 1890 800 024 or by visiting the DEASP website at:
My Department and the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) urge landlords to consider the negative impacts of COVID-19 on their tenants and to show forbearance where temporary rent arrears might arise. I have asked my Department to undertake a piece of research on the potential accumulation of rent arrears during the emergency period in conjunction with the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) as part of the established Department/ESRI housing research programme. The research will have regard to the range of rental and income supports being made available to those affected by COVID-19, and will assess the combined impact that these supports together with the changed consumption patterns have on the incidence of arrears.
My Department recently published a Guidance Document on COVID-19 supports for landlords and tenants, which sets out the emergency rental measures and income and other supports available to tenants and landlords during the emergency period.The Guidance document is available at:
and a list of Frequently Asked Questions has been developed and is available at:
During the emergency period, a landlord can still serve their tenant with a warning notice if their tenant is in rent arrears or otherwise failing to fulfil their obligations. The landlord must give their tenant 28 days, rather than the usual 14 days, from receipt of a rent arrears warning notice to pay the arrears. The longer rent arrears warning notice during the emergency period is intended to afford more time for tenants to seek any necessary income support. A notice of tenancy termination cannot be served by a landlord during the emergency period for any reason.
The RTB is encouraging all customers who may require assistance or advice, including in relation to any threatened eviction, to contact them via their web chat service as there may be delays to their phone lines during the emergency period. The webchat service can be accessed at the following link: .
Under the legislation, the process for any extension of the 3 month COVID-19 emergency 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 is ongoing and any subsequent request to Government will be made at the appropriate time and in accordance with the Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (Covid-19) Act 2020.
It is not possible to amend the provisions of the Act at this time.