This page provides an overview of the changes related to ending a tenancy, notice periods and rent reviews for tenancies that are not in rent arrears when once the Emergency Period, as set out in the Residential Tenancies Act 2020 (RTA 2020) which expired on the 13th of April.
Notices of Termination
From 24th October 2020, the RTA 2020 introduced temporary pauses on tenancy terminations taking effect during an Emergency Period, except in limited exceptions (outlined below). These temporary restrictions were and will be based on any Emergency Periods which impose restrictions on travel outside of a 5-kilometre radius of a person’s place of residence. 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
This Emergency Period expired on 12th April 2021. This means that notice periods that were paused can be calculated from 13th April 2021 and the existing laws on how to end a tenancy apply again from 13th of April 2021.
Revised termination date
Although Notices of Termination were allowed to be served during the Emergency Period, they could not take effect until the Emergency Period expired. The duration of any Emergency Period did not count as part of any termination notice period given. Effectively, all Notices of Termination (NoTs) served before or during an Emergency Period were paused. As notice periods were paused during the Emergency Period, termination dates will need to be recalculated upon the expiry of an Emergency Period.
A revised termination date will apply from 13th April 2021 and has to factor in the Emergency Period and an extra 10-day grace period. Effectively, a revised termination date will be calculated by counting:
- all, or the remainder, as may be appropriate, of the original termination notice given;
- all, or the remainder, as may be appropriate, of the Emergency Period; AND
- the 10-day grace period.
The earliest someone can be made to leave their accommodation is 10 days after the expiry date of an Emergency Period; in other words under the current scenario, 23rd April 2021
Examples of counting notice periods
For all landlords and tenants who served a Notice of Termination before or during the Emergency Period and had the termination notice period paused, those notice periods now recommence counting from 13th April 2021.
For example, a tenant who had 10 days remaining on their notice period on the first day of the Emergency Period (31st December 2020) under the RTA 2020, now have 20 days remaining from 13th April 2021 (the 10 days remaining on their notice period and the additional 10 days provided for in the RTA 2020).
Another example: if there were 30 days left on a notice period on 31st December 2020, from 13th April 2021, the 40 days can begin to count again. The revised termination date (which provides a 10-day grace period) will also apply to give the tenant a total of 40 days’ notice to count down from the day after the expiry date of the Emergency Period.
Exceptions to the temporary pause on tenancy terminations:
During the Emergency Period, a tenant could only be made to leave their rented accommodation in the following limited circumstances, where:
- A tenant behaved, or other occupiers/visitors were allowed to behave, in an anti-social manner; or
- A tenant acted, or other occupiers/visitors were allowed to act, in a way that would invalidate a landlord’s insurance; or
- A rental property was being used for a purpose other than as a dwelling without the landlord’s consent; or
- There was behaviour that threatened the fabric of the dwelling; or
- Rent arrears.
Please note that on 30 March 2021, the Residential Tenancies Act 2021 was signed into law which introduces changes to the RTA 2020 in relation to the limited exceptions for ending a tenancy which is described above. This Act seeks to clarify that a 5-kilometre restriction does not affect the legal obligation on a tenant to pay rent, and as such, rent arrears has now been included as a new exception. Instead, tenants in circumstances where they cannot pay their rent due to the pandemic can move to avail of the separate protections as set out in the Planning and Development, and Residential Tenancies Act, 2020 (PDRTA). For more information on the PDRTA, please click here.
In the limited exceptions outlined above, a landlord was entitled to serve a Notice of Termination during the Emergency Period (31st December 2020 to 12th April 2021 inclusive) to end the tenancy following usual rules (which can be found here) and notice periods counted as normal during the Emergency Period
Notices served before the Emergency period and the notice period ended before the Emergency period
A tenant served with a Notice of Termination giving a termination date that occurred before the Emergency Period who did not vacate and remained in the dwelling when the Emergency Period commenced, could stay in the accommodation until 10 days after the expiry of the Emergency Period. In this instance, a tenant in this situation can remain in their accommodation until 23rd April 2021.
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.
The RTA 2020 did not affect the provisions relating to rent, which means that rules around rent setting remained as normal during the Emergency Period between 31st December 2020 to 12th April 2021 and will do so during any subsequent Emergency Periods. The only exception to this is if a tenant has been financially impacted by Covid-19, is in rent arrears and at risk of losing their tenancy.
If you are a tenant who meets specific criteria, you can avail of tenancy protections until 12th January 2022. If you are a landlord with a tenant in rent arrears as a result of Covid-19, there are also new measures in place that you need to be aware of until 12th January 2022. For more information click here.