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The Residential Tenancies and Valuation Act 2020 (the 2020 Act) was signed into law on the 1st of August 2020.
The 2020 Act was introduced following the expiry of the Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (Covid-19) Act 2020 (the Covid-19 Act 2020). Under the Covid-19 Act 2020 all rent increases and termination of tenancies were banned, with very few exceptions, during the emergency period of 27th of March to 1st of August 2020.
The 2020 Act has removed this ban on rent increases and termination of tenancies, offering clarity, but it still provides protection for tenants whose livelihoods have been affected by Covid-19 and who as a result face rent arrears and the possibility of losing their tenancy. Outlined below are the key implications of the 2020 Act for landlords and tenants.
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.
In order for these tenants to be afforded protection under the 2020 Act, the tenant must qualify as a ‘relevant person’. A relevant person is on who satisfies the following criteria:
Criteria A: The inability to meet rent requirements due to the pandemic. Specifically;
Criteria B: They are at risk of losing their tenancy.
Provided the tenant meets the above criteria and fills out a Self-Declaration form (which must be submitted it to the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB)) the tenant cannot, before the 10 January 2021;
Under the new rules and requirements there are procedures that landlords must meet in order to affect a valid termination notice. The stated procedure is as follows;
Under the the Covid-19 Act 2020 there was a certain level of confusion on whether the rent freeze and eviction ban could be applied to commercial tenancies as well as residential tenancies, due to the wording at 5(7)(a) banning
“all proposed evictions in all tenancies in the State”.
This wording has now been removed under the 2020 Act and as such clarifies that the 2020 Act is only to apply to residential tenancies and not commercial tenancies.
The restrictions the 2020 Act provide will certainly be of some comfort to those tenants facing financial difficulty as a result of the pandemic. But those tenants need to ensure they understand the criteria to qualify as a ‘relevant person’ and that they adhere to the procedures in place.
Landlords, even more so, will need to ensure they understand the implications of the 2020 Act and the updated procedure outlined above.
For more information on the Residential Tenancies and Valuation Act 2020, or on any other landlord and tenant or property queries, please contact Head of Property, Nicola Walsh at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01 644 5800.
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