The Residential Tenancies and Valuation Act 2020 was signed into law by the president on August 2nd. This new act specifically sets out protections for tenants that have fallen into rent arrears and as a result are at a risk of losing their tenancy.

It also sets out to protect those whose employment was impacted by Covid-19. That includes those who were temporarily out of work, in receipt of 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).

Tenants who are or were impacted by Covid-19 can receive additional protections to remain in their tenancy without any increase in rent until 11 January 2021.

In order to qualify for these supports, tenants must fill in and sign a Self-Declaration form if they meet the above criteria. The RTB is currently working on providing tenants and landlords with further detail and information on this legislation and what the new process will entail

Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (Covid-19) Act 2020 has expired.

This ban expired on 1st August 2020, which means that for all tenants who are not facing rent arrears, the usual protections under the Residential Tenancies Act apply again.

Ending a tenancy, using the usual five reasons except for rent arrears, is now permitted. This is as long as the normal rules regarding providing the correct amount of notice period and issuing a Notice of Termination are adhered to.

One exception involves tenancies where a Notice of Termination was served before the emergency period under the Covid-19 Act 2020 and the period had not yet expired by the 27th of March 2020. These tenancies cannot end before the 10th of August 2020.

For all landlords who served a Notice of Termination before the Covid-19 Act 2020 and had the termination notice period paused, those notice periods now recommence. For instance, if there were 30 days left on a notice period on the 27th of March 2020, from 2nd August, the 30 days can begin to count again.

Please note that under the Covid-19 Act 2020, the 6-month period required to establish a ‘Part 4 tenancy’ with the full protections of the Residential Tenancies Acts was paused from 27 March 2020 to 1 August 2020. In other words, if the tenancy had lasted 3 months on the 27th of March 2020, it will still only have lasted 3 months on 2nd August 2020 and would require another 3 months from the 2nd of August to gain Part 4 rights.

Rent increases can now take effect. From 2nd August 2020, as long as the usual rent setting and review rules inside and outside a Rent Pressure Zone (RPZ) are adhered to, rent increases become payable by the tenant with no back-dating permitted.

Rent decreases continue to be allowed, whether the rent review notice was served before or during the emergency periods under the Covid-19 Act 2020 or the Residential Tenancies and Valuation Act 2020.

Please do not consider this a legal interpretation.
The Bill is available here.

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