Tuesday, 27 July 2021
Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government
620. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government the supports that are available for families that are privately renting that receive a notice to quit and are above the income threshold for social housing; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39381/21]
The Residential Tenancies Acts 2004-2021 provide that where a tenant has been in occupation of a dwelling for a continuous period of 6 months, with no valid notice of termination having been served during that time, a 'Part 4 tenancy' is established to cover the next 5 years and 6 months.
Section 34 of the Acts provides that a landlord must state a reason for the termination in any tenancy termination notice served, and the termination will not be valid unless that reason relates to one of the following:
- the tenant has failed to comply with the obligations (other than the obligation to pay rent) of the tenancy;
- the tenant has failed to comply with the obligation to pay rent under the tenancy;
- the dwelling is no longer suited to the needs of the occupying household;
- the landlord intends to sell the dwelling within the next 9 months;
- the landlord requires the dwelling for own or family member occupation;
- vacant possession is required for substantial refurbishment of the dwelling; and/or
- the landlord intends to change the use of the dwelling.
The Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 2019 strengthened the security of tenure for tenants by significantly extending the duration of tenancy termination notice periods; for example, a minimum of 180 days (approx. 6 months) notice must be provided by landlords who terminate a tenancy of between 3 and 7 years’ duration.
Since 1 July 2019, the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) is empowered under Part 7A – Complaints, Investigations and Sanctions – of the Residential Tenancies Acts to investigate improper conduct by landlords and to impose sanctions, where appropriate. In particular, an unlawful tenancy termination may be investigated with the landlord liable to a sanction of up to €30,000.
Section 56 of the Acts provides for the award of damages for abuse of the termination procedure, and the RTB can make a direction that a landlord pay an amount by way of damages for the deprivation of the tenancy.
The drafting of the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 2019 benefited from input from the sector, including the key Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) working in housing and homelessness. In particular, the 2019 amendments to legally tighten the tenancy termination provisions and to significantly extend the tenancy termination notice periods were informed by the experiences in the rental sector, as highlighted by the NGOs.
The Planning and Development, and Residential Tenancies, Act 2020 (PDRTA) provides that during the period from 11 January 2021 until 12 January 2022, for tenants with rent arrears due to Covid-19 and at risk of losing their tenancy who make the necessary declaration, landlords must provide in any notice of termination on the ground of rent arrears an effective termination date which is 90 days from the serving of the notice or 13 January 2022, whichever is the later.
The Residential Tenancies (No. 2) Act 2021, which was signed into law on 9 July 2021, provides for the extended application of the enhanced protections under the PDRTA for 6 months from 13 July 2021 to 12 January 2022.
Comprehensive information in relation to the enhanced protections under the PDRTA and the State supports available, including from the Department of Social Protection, to assist tenants is available on www.rtb.ie.
The Programme for Government - 'Our Shared Future', commits to improve the security of tenure for tenants, through legislating for tenancies of indefinite duration, increasing RTB enforcement and examining incentives for long-term leasing.
Subject to legal advices, I expect the General Scheme of the Housing and Residential Tenancies Bill to be submitted to Government in the Autumn for approval to proceed to legal drafting. A provision relating to tenancies of indefinite duration is being considered in this context.
621. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government if he will consider increasing the maximum value of a property that can be purchased under the Rebuilding Ireland home loan scheme in County Clare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39403/21]
My Department operates the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan, which is targeted at first time buyers who wish to own their own home, have access to an adequate deposit and have the capacity to repay a mortgage, but who are unable to access a mortgage sufficient for them to purchase their first home.
With a Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan you can borrow up to 90%of the market value of a residential property. Maximum market values of the property that can be purchased or self-built are:
- €320,000 in the counties Cork, Dublin, Galway, Kildare, Louth, Meath and Wicklow, and
- €250,000 in the rest of the country.
This limits the amount that can be borrowed to no more than €288,000in the counties Cork, Dublin, Galway, Kildare, Louth, Meath and Wicklow and no more than €225,000in the rest of the country. There are no plans at present to change these limits.
The Programme for Government - "Our Shared Future" contains a commitment to expand the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan.
Further information and full details of the loan’s eligibility criteria can be accessed on the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan website in the link below.
622. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government if further schemes will be introduced to help solo buyers who are endeavouring to get on the property ladder; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39404/21]
A number of measures are currently in place for individuals seeking to purchase or self-build their first home.
The Help to Buy Scheme may return tax paid in the previous four years (up to a maximum amount of €30,000) to eligible first-time homeowners purchasing or self-building a new home. Further information on this support is available online at: www.revenue.ie/en/property/help-to-buy-incentive/index.aspx.
The Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan is another support for first-time homeowners, including self-builds. This scheme enables access to sustainable mortgage lending to purchase new properties, or finance self-builds, or purchase second-hand properties, in a suitable price range. To avail of this support, applicants need to have sufficient borrowing and repayment capacity and must be capable of repaying the mortgage. Further information on the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan is available at .
In addition to the above substantial supports, the Affordable Housing Act 2021, which was enacted on 21 July 2021, is the first ever standalone affordable housing legislation. The provisions of the Act establish the basis for four new affordable housing measures.
These measures will deliver on the Programme for Government commitment to put affordability at the heart of the housing system and prioritise the increased supply of affordable homes through (1) delivering affordable homes on local authority lands, (2) the introduction of a new form of tenure in Cost Rental, (3) a new affordable purchase shared equity scheme and (4) expanding Part V planning requirements to increase the 10% contribution requirement to 20% and to apply it to cost rental as well as social and affordable housing.
The Government’s ‘Housing for All Strategy’ which will be published in the coming weeks will establish provide further details on the above supports.