A governmental leaflet was distributed earlier this week that reminds us about updated rental laws for landlords and tenants. In this summary we look at the leaflet entitled 'New rental laws - important information for landlords and tenants'.
- People in rental accommodation whose ability to pay rent is affected by Covid can now avail of new protections.
- Eligible tenants can postpone eviction until 11 January 2021 and defer rent increases payment until after 10 January 2021.
- Landlords are now required to send a Warning Notice in writing to the tenant and RTB (Residential Tenancy Board) giving a minimum of 28 days’ notice.
- Landlords and affected tenants are advised to engage in open discussion as early as possible and seek resolution satisfactory to all parties.
Eviction protection for people affected by Covid
Tenants whose ability to pay rent has been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic can now avail of additional protections. According to new rules introduced on 1 August 2020 eligible tenants will be able to postpone eviction due to unpaid rent until 11 January 2021 and defer payments of increased rent until the period after 10 January 2021.
In order to meet the eligibility criteria for these protections, the applicant has to: Be in receipt of (or entitled to receive) Illness Benefit for Covid-19 absence Be in receipt of (or entitled to receive) the temporary wage subsidy, employment wage subsidy or any other social welfare payment or State support paid due to loss of earnings as a result of Covid-19 (this includes the rent supplement or a supplementary welfare allowance) AND * As a result, be at risk of losing tenancy
How to apply for the new protections
In order to apply for the new protections, the tenant has to fill in the Self-Declaration form available on RTB website. One copy of the form has to be sent back to RTB and one copy must be forwarded to the landlord.
Landlords are now required to issue a written rent arrears Warning Notice which provides a minimum of 28 days for the outstanding rent to be paid. This notice has to be sent to the tenant and a copy must be forwarded to the RTB. During this period the RTB will try to reach out to the tenant in order to put them in touch with the Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS). It is an organisation funded by the Citizens Information Board which free, confidential and independent advice for people in debt. The RTB will also help with assessing the eligibility to defer the eviction under the new protections explained above.
If the entitlement is confirmed and the Self-Declaration is submitted and delivered to the landlord, the tenancy cannot be terminated before 11 January 2021. In addition to that, the landlord has to give a minimum 90-day notice period to vacate.
Without the Self-Declaration form, the landlord is entitled to give a 28-day Notice of Termination. If eligibility for protections can be established at this point, and Self-Declaration is provided, the protections take precedence and like above the tenancy is secured until 11 January 2021 and a 90-day notice period has to be provided.
Wherever possible tenants who find themselves missing rent payments are advised to contact their landlords and RTB as early as possible. Landlords and tenants are encouraged to work out mutually agreeable terms between themselves.
It is commendable to see the Irish government take action towards providing increased protections for people who find themselves in financial trouble through no fault of their own. It is however very disappointing to see the legislation, again, fails to address the huge number of people living in shared accommodation. Those people, offer students and low wage workers, are particularly exposed to suffer the economic cost of prolonged restrictions.