On 18 October 2022, the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien, received Cabinet approval for legislation which will provide a temporary and conditional stay on tenancy terminations this winter.
The Residential Tenancies (Deferment of Termination Dates of Certain Tenancies) Bill 2022 (the “Bill”) has not yet been published, but based on widely reported statements by the Minister, it is expected that the Bill will defer no fault tenancy terminations that are due to occur during the coming winter months from taking effect until after 31 March 2023. It is further anticipated that there will be provision in the Bill to ensure that a tenant who wilfully withholds rent or engages in anti-social or criminal behaviour will not be afforded such protection.
It is expected to be enacted and signed into law by the President in early November with the objective being for the period of the deferral of termination dates to commence on 1 November 2022.
Tenancies in scope
The legislation will cover residential tenants and licences/tenancies in student specific accommodation and student tenancies in the general rental market.
Notice of termination served before the winter emergency period
Any person who has had a valid ‘no fault’ notice of termination served, will not have their tenancy terminated during the winter emergency period. The deferred date for the termination of such a tenancy will take effect (based on a number of factors including the date that the notice was served and the duration of the relevant tenancy) on a phased basis between 1 April - 18 June 2023.
Notice of terminations served during the winter emergency period
A notice of termination can still be served, but it cannot take effect during the winter emergency period. Any notice of termination served during the winter emergency period in respect of tenancies of less than 6 months’ duration cannot specify a termination date that falls earlier than 18 June 2023.
The publication of the Bill and its passage through the Oireachtas will need to be carefully examined in order to ascertain whether the potential for unforeseen consequences of the deferral exist. For instances, it is not clear whether a tenant will acquire Part 4 rights during the suspended period thereby depriving landlords of the opportunity that would otherwise exist to end a tenancy within the first 6 months of the term.
It will be necessary to follow the Bill as it passes all stages in the Oireachtas and has been signed into law by the President to fully understand the impact of measures on the rental market and the property market as a whole.