Residential and Local Authority Tenancies during Covid 19
The following is not intended as legal advice. It is for information purposes only. If you require legal advice specific to your own circumstances, you should consult a solicitor. This information is correct as of 17th April. The situation evolves quickly.
- The Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (COVID-19) Act 2020 came into force on 27th March 2020. The provisions of the Act relating to residential tenancies apply for three months but can be extended by Government Order. This is the Emergency Period.
- No one can be evicted from their property except in certain exceptional circumstances. Notices of Termination cannot be served by landlords during this period. All notices of termination which were served by landlords before the Emergency Period and fall within this period, are paused and the tenant cannot be told to leave their rented accommodation during this time.
- Exception: Where the Notice of Termination was served before the Emergency Period and the RTB issued a determination order supporting the notice of termination for breach of tenant obligations.
- Exception: If a Notice of Termination was served and expired before the Emergency Period, and the tenant has not left the property, the landlord must lodge a dispute with the RTB if they still want the tenant to leave. The tenant will only have to leave on foot of a Determination Order issued by the RTB.
- Note: Tenants can serve notices of termination on their landlord.
- If a Notice of Termination was served but was due to expire after the Emergency Period elapses, the notice period is effectively extended by the length of the Emergency Period.
- Rents cannot be increased. All rent reviews are paused during the Emergency Period. But rents can be decreased
- Tenants must still pay their rent. Warning notices (informing a tenant of their rent arrears and giving them a reasonable opportunity to pay the rent owed) can still be served. For tenancies shorter than six months the period a tenant must be given to repay arrears is extended from 14 to 28 days.
- The time reckonable before a tenancy becomes a Part IV or Further Part IV tenancy is stopped for the Emergency Period.
- Where a tenancy is illegally terminated the RTB have the power to award damages of up to €20,000 and to seek an injunction requiring the landlord to reinstate the tenant.
Residential Tenancies Boards
The Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) has jurisdiction over most residential tenancies disputes other than local authority tenancies. Disputes can still be lodged with the RTB using their online service. However, for now, all adjudication and Tribunal hearings have been postponed. The RTB is investigating options for holding hearings remotely. The requirement to hold hearings in public is suspended for the Emergency Period. They are offering a telephone mediation service for disputes. For details see the RTB website at www.rtb.ie
Local Authority Tenancies and other tenancies of a residential nature
- All evictions of any kind in the State are currently prohibited – this includes local authority tenancies, rent-a-room, and “digs” style accommodation. Local authorities generally require a District Court order to evict a tenant and these cases are not currently being heard.
- All Travellers who are currently resident in any location should not during this crisis be evicted from that location except where movement is required to ameliorate hardship and provide protection and subject to consultation with the Travellers involved.