EMERGENCY MEASURES IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST (COVID-19) BILL 2020
This amendment removes the discretion from the Minister in setting the commencement date of these measures. It aims to give clarity and certainty that they will start from Monday March 30th after the President signs the law over the weekend.
4.1.(c) Subject to a vote of approval by both Houses of the Oireachtas.
This amendment places the power to extend the measure in the hands of the Oireachtas after the three-month emergency lapses. The government’s proposal is that they can unilaterally decide to extend it effectively by-passing both houses of the Oireachtas. The significant powers contained in this bill should be proportionate, effective and subject to oversight and review. This amendment ensures that high level of oversight and ultimately approval by both Houses.
As per the amendment above.
(3) For the sole purposes of section (8), tenancy under section (8) also applies to licensees as defined under the Residential Tenancies Act 2004.
This amendment extends the provisions of tenancy protections to Rent a Room schemes. It means that renters in the scheme cannot be evicted during the three month period bar for extreme anti-social behaviour. The normal situation will revert after the crisis as it is the principal private residence of the landlord. Any long term changes would undermine the attractiveness of the scheme.
Section 8. A
“All relevant payments for accommodation provided under section 13(d) of the Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Act 2016 shall be refunded within three months for the relevant period if the accommodation has been vacated by the licensee due to the suspension of Higher education activity due to Covid-19.”
This amendment places a statutory obligation on student accommodation provers to refund rent for this term of third level due to Covid-19 closures. Students should not have to pay for a service they do not get.
“All Housing Assistance top up payments shall be compensated by the Minister to Tenants affected by Covid-19”
The HAP top up payment is overstretching tenants. Given the vulnerable status of these tenants they require additional support for those impacted by Covid-19. The state needs to step in to support these tenants.
“The Residential Tenancies Board shall issue a report assessing the effectiveness of the measures contained in Part 1 and Part 2 after a three-month period. Said report shall be laid before both Houses of the Oireachtas. The report shall cover
The proposals contained in this legislation require the goodwill and co-operation of all stakeholders if they are to protect tenants and secure the viability of the rental sector. The RTB has a central role to play in supervising its impact and the level of adherence to ensure no bad faith is shown. It can also draw lessons from the experience to apply to long term housing policy. This amendment mandates the RTB to report on these matters to the Oireachtas to help ensure full transparency over the legislation and informed future debate.
“All fees under Section 137 of the Residential Tenancies Act 2004 as amended by the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 2019 are suspended for a 12-month period effective from March 30th 2020.”
A large number of new properties have come back onto the rental market as a result of the AirBnB and other short term lettings collapse. This is a welcome development albeit it exposes the weakness in our current regulations. We need to attract more into long term renting to confront the crisis in the sector. We should also recognise the contribution of decent landlords to these protective measures. Suspending registration fees would be a measure to reduce costs and ease access to the long term rental sector.
“The Minister shall publish regulations setting out payment break criteria for all mortgages under the Re-Building Ireland Home loan scheme .”
There have been serious concerns raised by Re-Building Ireland Home loan holders that the forbearance protections afford to mortgage holders with the main banks have not been extended to them. Given the scale and intensity of the crisis these homeowners should be fully protected within the umbrella of polices to help them keep their homes without severe financial or credit penalties. This amendment mandates the Minister to set out clear guidance to each Local Authority to help affected homeowners.
“The Minister shall publish regulations setting out payment break criteria for all mortgages under Credit servicing firms as defined by the Consumer Protection (Regulation of Credit Servicing Firms) Act 2018.”
The main pillar banks have agreed set procedures to provide forbearance to mortgage holders in distress due to Covid-19. This amendment extends those provisions to all mortgage holders outside of those banks i.e Vulture funds etc. The definition is drawn from Michael McGrath’s Consumer Protection (Regulation of Credit Servicing Firms) Act 2018 that the government agreed with and was passed into law.
“relevant property” has the same meaning as it has in the Valuation Act 2001,
“emergency period” means the period beginning on 26 March 2020 and ending on 31 May 2020.
(2) Where a relevant property is occupied by a person engaged in a business and the business of that person has been adversely affected by Covid-19 to a significant extent, the emergency period shall not be reckonable in the calculation of the rate levied by a rating authority in the local financial year.
(3) When calculating the amount of the rate to be levied in accordance with the formula provided for in section 4(2) the rating authority shall deduct from the amount calculated as ordinarily payable a sum equivalent to that proportion of the rate attributable to the emergency period.
This amendment removes commercial rates for the emergency period. The current government position is a deferral for two months which we believe is insufficient. This amendment builds on a separate bill FF published to introduce a complete moratorium on rates for affected businesses for up to 12 months that we hope the Dail can agree in the coming weeks as a measure to help business re-build. In the interim period this amendment will help to take pressure off business in the short term.
“Act of 1980” means the Landlord and Tenant (Amendment) Act 1980
“emergency period” means the period beginning on 26 March 2020 and ending on 31 May 2020,
(2) A landlord shall not terminate or serve a notice of termination in relation to a lease or tenancy during the emergency period.
3) A tenant who, but for the operation of subsection (2), would not acquire any rights under Part II of the Act of 1980 shall not, by virtue of such operation, acquire such rights.
This amendment effectively extends the provisions we are extending to renter to businesses who are renting premises. It protects businesses from evictions during the emergency period. This is critical in protecting businesses and giving them a fighting chance to re-build once the crisis has passed.