The Residential Tenancies Act 2020
On 24th October 2020, the Government introduced the Residential Tenancies Act 2020 (RTA 2020). This new legislation introduces temporary restrictions which provide that tenants are not required to vacate their rental properties during the Emergency Period, except for limited exceptions relating to specific breaches of tenant obligations, as set out below.
These temporary restrictions are based on a new Emergency Period, which imposes restrictions on travel outside of a 5-kilometre radius of a person’s place of residence. As it stands, the Emergency Period will last for 6 weeks from 21st October 2020. This means that whenever the movement of a person is restricted to within 5 kilometres of their home, the temporary restriction on ending a tenancy will apply.
Notices of Termination
Notices of Termination can still be served during the Emergency Period, but the termination notice cannot take effect until after the Emergency Period is lifted, subject to certain exceptions. The duration of any Emergency Period will not count as part of any termination notice period given.
For the purposes of counting revised notice periods during this time, the revised termination date is 10 days after the Emergency Period plus the notice period or remainder of the notice period. As such, there is a 10-day grace period and the earliest someone can be made to leave their accommodation is 10 days after the Emergency Period is lifted.
A further example, a tenant who has two months left on their notice period at the start of the Emergency Period, will have two months plus 10 days remaining at the end of the Emergency Period restrictions.
Part 4 Security of Tenure
The RTA 2020 provides that a tenant may not acquire any security of tenure rights under Part 4 of the Residential Tenancies Act 2004 by virtue of the restrictions imposed on Notices of Terminations taking effect or a tenant being allowed to remain within a dwelling during the Emergency Period.
Exceptions to the Prohibition on Evictions
The temporary prohibition on evictions is subject to a number of exceptions. This means that the temporary prohibitions on tenancy terminations taking effect will not apply in these cases. This applies where a tenant has failed to comply with their obligations, including:
Where a tenant or other visitors behave in an anti-social manner;
A tenant acts in a way that would invalidate a landlord’s insurance;
Where a rental property is being used for a purpose other than as a dwelling without the landlord’s consent; and
Where there is a threat to a dwelling which threatens the fabric of the dwelling.
In these instances, a landlord is entitled to serve a Notice of Termination to end the tenancy following usual rules which can be found here.
The Residential Tenancies and Valuation Act 2020
The RTA 2020 does not impact upon the protections which apply to a tenant in rent arrears due to Covid-19 and who are at risk of losing their tenancy brought in by the Residential Tenancies and Valuation Act 2020 on 1st August 2020.
The Residential Tenancies and Valuation Act 2020 introduces protections for those tenants who are facing rent arrears and, as a result, are at risk of losing their tenancy. If a tenant’s ability to pay rent has been impacted by Covid-19 and the tenant meets specific criteria, new procedures and protections apply. Tenants who follow these procedures cannot be made to leave their rental accommodation before 10th January 2021 and must be given a minimum of 90 days’ notice in the Notice of Termination. It is also prohibited for them to pay any increases in rent until after 10th of January 2021.
In cases concerning rent arrears, additional procedures are imposed upon landlords who seek to terminate a tenancy. These procedures are not impacted by the introduction of the Residential Tenancies Act 2020. For further information regarding the procedure involved in rent arrears cases, please click here.