News & Media

FF Renter bill flawed and full of holes

26 July 2020

Statement by Senator Rebecca Moynihan
Spokesperson on Housing, Local Government and Heritage

After examining the draft legislation for renters from the Minister for Housing, Labour Housing spokesperson Rebecca Moynihan said the latest Residential Tenancies Bill is flawed and full of holes and fails to address the main excuses used for evicting tenants.

Senator Moynihan said:

“The residential tenancies bill that will come to the Oireachtas this week will give very limited protection for those impacted by Covid-19. Because of that we can be sure that we will now see an increase in homelessness in the autumn. The government must prepare for that reality now as their flawed bill won’t stop people losing their homes. We know that the pandemic ban on evictions clearly worked to stop the increase in homelessness.

“Under Fianna Fáil and the Greens and the bill they will bring through next week, no fault evictions are back, substantial renovation evictions are back, and evictions for the benefit of family members are back. There is no beefing up of the staffing of the Residential Tenancies Board for inspections and protection of renters in cases such as those I’ve listed.

“Unfortunately the proposed law leaves too many exceptions in the terms for evictions, and there is a huge risk that from September we will see homelessness back and rising.

“The changes will only give protection from eviction until January to those who can prove they have been financially impacted by a limited set of circumstances and puts in place a complicated process to apply for that exception. The reality is that this will result in more people losing their home as they will have to navigate a technical system.

“Disturbingly the Minister plans to criminalise tenants for false declarations without doing the same to landlords availing of eviction exceptions. To do this to someone at risk of losing their home is really despicable.

“The Minister also needs to clarify if the bill as proposed will stop rent increases up to January 2020 for all tenants or just those impacted by Covid-19.

“This is the latest last minute bill over many years that attempts to address issues in the body of law covering residential tenancies. Sadly it fails to adequately address the main excuses used for evicting tenants which is the driving force of homelessness in Ireland.”