The Cabinet agreed some time ago to extend the protections set out in the Residential Tenancies and Valuation Act 2020 for tenants who have fallen into rent arrears as a result of Covid-19, and are at risk of losing their tenancy. The Residential Tenancies Bill 2021 which came before the Dail this week outlines Covid-19 protections for renters.
These initial protections were first brought in last July. This prevented landlords from either evicting or increasing the rent of tenants who are in arrears due to Covid-19 income loss and who are on a Covid-19 related social welfare payment. These measures are only in place until the 12th of April. However with the introduction of this new Bill, these extensions will be extended up until the 12th of July.
The Minister for Housing stated that 407 tenancies have sought protection under this measure for the first set of Covid protections.
The protections are for Tenants who are or were, from the period from 9th March 2020:-
• Temporarily out of work because they contracted Covid-19 and their employer did not have to pay them; or
• In receipt of (or entitled to receive) the temporary wage subsidy or any other social welfare payment paid for loss of earnings due to Covid-19 (this includes the rent supplement or a supplementary welfare allowance);
• Are at risk of losing their tenancy.
These tenancies can receive additional protections to remain in their tenancy without any increase in rent up to the 13th July 2021. To qualify for these supports, tenants must serve a Self-Declaration form.
The protections may not apply:
• To a tenancy with rent arrears of more than five months.
• 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.