Rental Legislation & Covid-19

This page provides the latest information on rental legislation related to Covid-19 and what this means for landlords and tenants.

An eviction moratorium is in place from the 31st December and is due to expire on 10th February 2021 (31st January plus 10-day grace period). This legislation has been reintroduced as a result of the return of 5km restrictions on people’s movements. Please note any time there is a 5km restriction imposed on people’s movements in line with public health restrictions, the moratorium on evictions (with limited exceptions) will automatically kick-in. The RTA 2020 also introduces a 10-day grace period for ending tenancies, which means the earliest anyone can be made to leave their accommodation during this emergency period is 10th February 2021.

For more information on the RTA 2020, continue reading below or please see the Minister’s Press Statement, the Guidance on Residential Tenancies Act 2020 and the FAQs on Residential Tenancies Act 2020.

Please note the RTB does not manage Covid-19 income supports or Covid-19 public health guidelines. For the latest information, please visit the Department of Social Protection's website here or the HSE's website www.hse.ie

The Residential Tenancies Act 2020

On 24th October 2020, the Government introduced the Residential Tenancies Act 2020 (RTA 2020). This legislation introduces temporary restrictions which provide that tenants are not required to vacate their rental properties during an Emergency Period, except in limited circumstances relating to specific breaches of tenant obligations, as set out below.

These temporary restrictions are based on new Emergency Periods, which impose restrictions on travel outside of a 5-kilometre radius of a person’s place of residence. The current Emergency Period applies across the country from 31st December 2020 to 31st January 2021. The RTA also introduces a 10-day grace period for ending tenancies, which means that the earliest someone can be made to leave their rental accommodation during the current Emergency Period is 10th February 2021.

An Emergency Period applies in locations covered by a 5 km travel restriction and for the relevant durations specified by the Minister of Health in Regulations made by him under section 31A of the Health Act 1947. This means that whenever the movement of a person is restricted to within 5 kilometres of their home, the temporary restriction on ending a tenancy will apply.

Notices of Termination

Landlords and tenants can still serve a Notice of Termination as usual during an Emergency Period, subject to certain exceptions (more details below), but the notice period cannot begin to count until an Emergency Period is lifted. A Notice of Termination served by a landlord cannot take effect until after the expiry of an Emergency Period. The duration of any Emergency Period will not count as part of any termination notice period given, which means that notice periods are effectively paused for the duration of any Emergency Period.

As such, the RTA 2020 introduces a revised termination date upon the expiry of any Emergency Period. The revised termination date factors in the Emergency Period plus an extra 10-day grace period. Effectively, a revised termination date will be calculated counting:

  • all (or the remainder) of the original termination notice given;
  • all (or the remainder) of the Emergency Period; and
  • the 10-day grace period. 

The earliest someone can be made to leave their accommodation is 10 days after an Emergency Period is lifted.

As an example, a tenant who has two months left on their notice period at the start of an Emergency Period, will have two months plus 10 days remaining at the end of that Emergency Period. For further information, please read our FAQs here

Part 4 Security of Tenure

The RTA 2020 provides that a tenant will not acquire any security of tenure rights under Part 4 of the RTA 2004 by virtue of the restrictions imposed on Notices of Terminations taking effect or a tenant being allowed to remain within a dwelling during the Emergency Period. This also applies for Further Part 4 tenancies.

Exceptions to the Prohibition on Evictions

The temporary prohibition on tenancy terminations is subject to a number of exceptions. This means that the temporary prohibitions on tenancy terminations taking effect will not apply in these cases. This applies where a tenant has failed to comply with their obligations, including:

  • Anti-social behaviour; or
  • Behaviour that invalidates a landlord’s insurance; or
  • Use of the dwelling other than as a residential accommodation unit, without the landlord’s written consent; or
  • Behaviour that threatens the dwelling.

In these instances, a landlord is entitled to serve a Notice of Termination to end the tenancy following usual rules (which can be found here) and notice periods count as normal during an Emergency Period. 

Rent setting provisions not affected

The RTA 2020 does not affect the provisions relating to rent, which means that rules around rent setting remain as normal during an Emergency Period.

The Residential Tenancies and Valuation Act 2020 

The RTA 2020 did not impact upon the protections which applied to a tenant in rent arrears due to Covid-19 and who were at risk of losing their tenancy brought in by the Residential Tenancies and Valuation Act 2020 (RTVA 2020) on 1st August 2020. Please note the emergency period and some of the protections as set out in the RTVA 2020 expired on 10th January 2021 and have been replaced with the provisions under Planning and Development, and Residential Tenancies Act 2020 (PDRTA) from 11th January 2021. 

Part 3 (Residential Tenancies) of the Planning and Development, and Residential Tenancies, Act 2020

Part 3 (Residential Tenancies) of the Planning and Development, and Residential Tenancies, Act 2020 (the PDRTA) was enacted on 19 December 2020 to provide for temporary modifications to the operation of the Residential Tenancies Act 2004. During the period from 11 January to 12 April 2021 inclusive and subject to certain conditions, a 90-day (rather than the usual 28 days) termination notice period applies, where a tenant is in rent arrears due to Covid-19 and is at risk of losing their tenancy.

The earliest termination date allowed in such circumstances is 13 April 2021. Rent increases are prohibited for relevant tenancies up to and including 12 April 2021, with no back-dating allowed. The aim is to further assist tenants financially impacted by Covid-19, while recognising and balancing the rights of landlords who, equally, may be in financial difficulty during this unprecedented period.

The PDRTA provides that if a tenant’s ability to pay rent has been impacted by Covid-19 during the period from 1 August 2020 up to and including 12 April 2021 and a tenant meets specifc criteria, then new procedures and protections apply. Please read the Guidance Document and FAQs for further information. 
 

Click here to find out more about the new PDRTA requirements and protections for both landlords and tenants facing rent arrears as a result of Covid-19

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

Click here to find out the latest information on the RTB's Dispute Resolution Service

Please note the RTB does not manage Covid-19 income supports or Covid-19 public health guidelines. For the latest information on this please visit www.hse.ie or the Department of Social Protection's website here