Covid-19 Emergency Period Ended & New Protections Introduced for the Rental Sector

The emergency period in the Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (COVID-19) Act 2020 expired on 1st August 2020, at the same time the Residential Tenancies and Valuation Act 2020 was introduced.

The Residential Tenancies and Valuation Act 2020

On 1st August 2020, the Residential Tenancies and Valuation Act 2020 introduced new protections for those tenants who are facing rent arrears and, as a result, are at significant risk of losing their tenancy. 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. Tenants who follow these procedures:

  • cannot be made to leave their rental accommodation before 11th January 2021, and
  • it is prohibited for them to pay any increases in rent until after 10th January 2021.

For tenants to avail of these new protections they need to meet specific criteria and fill in a Self-Declaration form, which must be served on the RTB and the landlord. More information and the relevant criteria can be found here.

Importance of Communication

During the emergency period (27th March to 1st August 2020), rents were expected to be paid. However, for some people it may not have been possible to continue to pay rent as normal. When rent goes unpaid this is known as rent arrears. This can be a very difficult and distressing situation for both landlords and tenants.

When this situation arises, the most important thing to do is to talk to each other. It is possible for landlords and tenants to come to an agreement between themselves to manage the arrears. This could include an agreed payment plan to manage the arrears and a commitment to future rent payments when they are due. Or, landlords may consider a reduction in rent or a rent deferral.

Template letters for agreeing a payment plan are available for download here.

We encourage tenants and landlords to be kind and patient during these discussions, as often through working together the tenancy and relationship can be sustained.

Click here to view the new procedures in place for dealing with rent arrears as a result of Covid-19

Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (Covid-19) Act 2020

The emergency period outlined in the Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (Covid-19) Act 2020 expired on 1st August 2020. This legislation set out an emergency period effective from the 27th March until 1st August 2020, which banned;

  • all rent increases, and
  • tenancy terminations, with limited exceptions.

These protections ended on 1st August, which means that for most tenancies, the usual rules and protections apply again from the 2nd August 2020.

For a full overview of the usual rental rights and responsibilities for landlords and tenants, please read the RTB's Good Landlord Tenant Guide.

From 2nd August 2020, ending a tenancy is now permitted, but a tenant cannot be required to vacate a dwelling prior to the 10th August 2020.

The rules around ending a tenancy resume mostly as normal from 2nd August 2020. However, there is one exception where a Notice of Termination which was served before the emergency period started (27th March) and was due to end between the 2nd and 9th August. The tenant has a grace period and the tenancy cannot end before the 10th of August 2020.

For example, if a tenant was due to vacate on the 29th March, they would have 2 days left to run when the emergency period ended on the 1st August. However, the tenant in this scenario is now afforded until 10th August. If a tenant had 10 days’ notice left to run from the 2nd August, the tenant will still be due to vacate on the 12th August as that is a date later than 10th August.

Click here for more details on what the ending of Covid-19 emergency measures means for your tenancy