Dáil to debate Renters’ Rights Bill next Wednesday

Labour Trade Unionists
17 September 2021

The Labour Party will bring forward a Renters’ Rights bill this Wednesday 22nd September in Private members time, and put pressure on the government to deliver tenancies of indefinite duration as committed to in Housing for All. it also gives a right to have pets, and request to opt for an unfurnished home.

This bill delivers on a key commitment made by Ivana Bacik during the Dublin Bay South bye-election, and seeks to restrict some of the main reasons used for evictions which is a principal cause of homelessness.

Introducing the Bill in the Dáil on Thursday, Ivana Bacik TD said:

“During the Dublin Bay South by-election campaign we heard from so many people, renters and homeowners alike, who were so concerned about the difficulties everyone was experiencing in rented accommodation. These are widespread but they amount to difficulties in three particular areas, namely, difficulties for those who lack security of tenure because they are facing eviction or fear eviction, difficulties with unaffordable rents and rent hikes – even where people have been paying rent at a particular level for years they fear unaffordable rent increases – and third, difficulties with poor quality of life and low standards in rented accommodation, which again is a very serious and persistent issue for so many.

“These are the three issues that this important Bill seeks to address in a range of constructive and positive ways. They are also issues that were identified in a report published this week by the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission in conjunction with the Economic and Social Research Institute. Their study highlighted disadvantages experienced by particular cohorts including those with disabilities, single-parent families, Travellers and others in the housing system, but there are widespread issues facing those who rent. Their stark findings underline and emphasise the issues that were raised with us during the by-election campaign and underline the need for this important renters’ rights legislation.”

Notes to Editors:

Labour’s Residential Tenancies (Tenants’ Rights) Bill 2021 is Ivana Bacik’s first bill in the Dáil.

WHAT DOES THIS BILL DO?

This bill would provide for meaningful change for renters, and deal with three key issues that renters are experiencing – security of tenure, rents and deposits. and quality of rental accommodation.

Security of Tenure – 

This Bill would restrict the circumstances in which a landlord can terminate a tenancy. 

  • It removes so-called “no fault” evictions.
  • Removes the ground which allows a landlord to terminate a tenancy on the basis that they intend to sell the property within 3 months. 
  • Provides that a landlord can only evict for renovations where “no reasonable measures can be taken to maintain the dwelling fit for human habitation”.
  • Reduces the family members a landlord can terminate a tenancy to benefit – only spouses/civil partners or children.

 Rent and Deposits –

  • If a landlord seeks to get around the rent pressure zones and raise rent on the basis that there have been substantial alterations/renovations to the property, this can be referred to the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB). 
  • This Bill would amend the private residential tenancies register to provide full transparency to renters. Landlords would be obliged to ensure that the number/duration of previous tenancies, the date/duration of refurbishment works/renovations and the amount of rent payable under the current tenancy and any previous tenancies are included in the published register. This would allow tenants to see what those before them paid and what works had been undertaken to justify any increases in rent, for example.
  • It would end the practice of landlords demanding more than one month’s rent for deposits.
  • It would declare the entire State a rent pressure zone.

Quality of Rental Accommodation –

This bill would bring the rules surrounding rental into the 21st century.  

  • It provides for model tenancy agreements, which would stop landlords prohibiting their tenant from hanging clothes to dry in the garden/on a balcony. It also removes any absolute prohibition on pet ownership.   
  • It gives tenants the right to opt for an unfurnished home. This practice is used in many other countries and allows tenants to make a place their home, which is particularly important for long term renters and families.
  • It requires landlords to file a statement that the dwelling meets minimum housing standards when they’re registering a tenancy.  If they don’t do this or file a false statement, then they would be committing an offence. Any landlord who doesn’t register a tenancy or updates information will be committing an offence.  This is stronger than what is in the current legislation.

 

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