Lifting of full ban on evictions and rent increases approved

Housing Minister Darragh O'Brien. File photograph.

The Dáil has approved a bill to extend a ban on evictions and rent increases for only those who can prove they have been financially impacted by Covid-19.

The Government introduced a blanket ban on evictions and rent increases in response to the Covid-19 crisis in March, which is now due to end on Saturday or August 1st.

Housing Minister Darragh O'Brien outlined the new bill this morning which will see anyone who has lost their job or income because of Covid-19, and anyone who is on a pandemic payment, be exempt from eviction until January next year.

All people outside those categories will be subject to the usual market rules. Amendments to the bill will be presented on Thursday.

The new bill was strongly opposed by opposition TDs earlier today, with the Dáil warned of a second wave of the housing crisis if the total ban on rent increases and evictions ended.

Rise TD Paul Murphy said homelessness would increase as a result: “In recent months we’ve seen a decline not just in Covid-19, but also in homelessness.”

Now due to mismanagement by the Government, we are at risk of a second wave of the virus, and this bill if it’s passed, will unleash a second wave of the housing crisis.

“The Government wants to make it easier for landlords to kick tenants out.”

Solidarity TD Mick Barry said homelessness had dropped recently as a result of the ban: “In the space of a mere two months, the overall numbers forced to live in emergency accommodation in this State declined by more than a thousand persons.”

TD Richard Boyd-Barrett said homelessness would now increase once again: “This bill is a shameful betrayal of tenants, which opens the door to a new wave of evictions into homelessness.”

Rights of landlords

However, Tipperary TD Mattie McGrath defended the rights of landlords, saying some tenants have abused their neighbours and engaged in drug-dealing during the eviction ban:

“We have situations were landlords have been tormented by tenants, causing huge levels of antisocial behaviour, throwing parties, drug dealing, tormenting and abusing the neighbours, and indeed theft.

“Nothing can be done about them because of this moratorium and because of this so-called Covid pandemic.”