This emergency Act prohibits residential rent increases and prevents landlords terminating tenancies for the time being.
The powers enacted are to last for the duration of the ‘emergency period’ which is stated to be a period of 3 months commencing with enactment of the Act on 27 March 2020. This period may be extended by the Government and relevant Ministers.
The Act provides that there should be no rent increase for tenancies governed by the Residential Tenancies Acts for the duration of the emergency period.
The Act provides that any increase in rent which was due to take effect during the emergency period shall not take effect during that period and shall not be payable during the emergency period. This includes increases where the notice is already served but is to take effect during the emergency period.
Tenants do remain liable for their contractual rent in full.
Termination of tenancy
A landlord may not terminate a residential tenancy for any reason during the emergency period. They cannot serve notices of termination and cannot take any action to implement any notices already served.
There is an exception where a termination is in accordance with determinations made following referral of a dispute to the Residential Tenancies Board but this will most likely be a rare occurrence in exceptional circumstances.
The provisions apply to the private sector, Local Authority and Approved Housing Bodies. The Act also prohibits the eviction of travellers during the emergency period.
While the nature and wording of the Act appears that its intentions are for Residential matters only a late amendment made while being debated in the Oireachtas appears to have broadened the Act unintentionally and may prohibit forfeiture of commercial leases. The Act simply states that "all proposed evictions in all tenancies in the State" are prohibited. If the emergency period is extended this may be clarified further.
Part 4 Tenancies
The Act shall not mean a residential tenant acquires the usual right to security of tenure for a 6 year period where this would not otherwise have been the case.
If you have any queries relating to these mater please contact Joynt & Crawford LLP for further details.