The Residential Tenancies (Deferment of Termination Dates of Certain Tenancies) 2022 (‘the Act’), was signed into law on the 29th of October 2022, as a temporary safeguard for tenants from eviction during the winter months.
The Act includes temporary amendments to the Residential Tenancies 2004 Act and strives to address ever-growing concerns around homelessness and to relieve pressure on housing services. The Act designates the ‘winter emergency period’ from 30 October 2022 through to 31 March 2023. At the end of this period, the Act provides for phased termination of tenancies, with both the duration of the tenancy and the original termination date dictating when deferred terminations will take place. Hence, save in certain circumstances, a tenant cannot be evicted until 1 April at the earliest or, for those in tenancies of less than 6 months, 18 June 2023. Of note, determinations reached by the Residential Tenancies Board are also subject to these deferred termination dates.
Whilst undoubtedly strengthening the protections afforded to tenants, the Bill does not preclude the ability of landlords to serve termination notices during the winter emergency period. Rather, notices served during this time will be considered deferred until the emergency period reaches its conclusion. Moreover, only those tenants who adhere to their many obligations may fall within the ambit of the Act. For example, a tenant who fails to pay rent or denies their landlord access to the dwelling, as detailed in section 16 of the Residential Tenancies Act 2004, cannot avail of these new protections.
Coupled with the recent introduction of the Regulation of Providers of Building Works and Miscellaneous Provisions 2022, this new bill has considerably enhanced the position of tenants – albeit temporarily. Nevertheless, the Bill is indicative of the government’s commitment to curb homelessness and resolve issues around housing, and whilst the Bill’s lifespan is limited, it should prove effective and provide comfort to many in the months ahead.
About the Author: Greg Flanagan, Partner on in Property