21st December, 2020
President Higgins signed the Planning and Development, and Residential Tenancies Bill 2020 into Law on the 19th December 2020, further amending the Residential Tenancies Act 2004.
From a cursory reading we note the following:-
It extends the protections for tenants in arrears as a result of Covid-19 from 11th January 2021 to 12th April 2021 and prevents rent increases for these tenants during the period.
The new protections shall apply where the tenant:
- makes the necessary written declaration, that he or she is unable to pay rent due on foot of Covid-19, and is at risk of losing his or her tenancy; and
- at the same time, serves a notice on the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) requesting assistance to obtain advice from the Money and Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS); and
- within 5 days of making his or her declaration, serves a notice on his or her landlord seeking a consultation to make an arrangement to pay their rent due.
The protections will not apply:
- To a tenancy with rent arrears of more than five months on 10 January 2021.
- In a situation where the application would cause undue financial hardship to the landlord.
- Where the tenant fails or refuses to comply with the terms of an agreed rental payment arrangement.
Included in the Act:
- Provision is made for a counter-declaration by a landlord to disapply the protections.
- Similar to a tenant declaration, it shall be an offence for a landlord to make a declaration that is false or misleading.
The position for any tenant who made a declaration under the Residential Tenancies and Valuation Act and to whom Part 3 of this Bill applies, is that their termination date will move out to 13 April 2021. A tenant cannot acquire Part 4 security of tenure rights as a result.
The legislation is complex and it will take some time for the ramification of the changes to be understood. We will endeavour to get clarification to help continue to support you in the management of your tenancies. Please do not consider this a legal interpretation.
The Planning and Development, and Residential Tenancies Bill 2020 can be accessed here.