Latest Rent Arrears Procedures, Requirements and Protections

This page provides an overview of what the latest rent arrears legislation means for landlords and tenants

On 9 July 2021, the Residential Tenancies (No.2) Act 2021 was signed into law, extending the provisions and protections of the PDRTA from 12 July 2021 to 12 January 2022. 

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

The PDRTA was enacted on 19th December 2020 to provide for temporary modifications to the operation of the Residential Tenancies Act 2004. On 9 July 2021, the Government enacted the Residential Tenancies (No.2) Act 2021 which extends the provisions and protections under the PDRTA 2020 from 12th July 2021 to 12th January 2022. As such, during the period from 11th January up to and including 12th January 2022 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 13th January 2022. Rent increases are prohibited for relevant tenancies up to and including 12th January 2022, 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.

Information for Tenants

Requirements for tenants to benefit from new protections

Where a tenant has not made a declaration under the RTVA on or before 10th January 2021 or since the introduction of the PDRTA on 10th January 2021, the extended PDRTA protections can apply to a tenant if during the period from 1st August 2020 to 12th January 2022 inclusive, he or she is in receipt of (or was entitled to receive):

  • Illness Benefit for Covid-19 absence; or
  • The Temporary Wage Subsidy or any other social welfare payment or State support paid as a result of loss of earnings due to Covid-19 (this includes the rent supplement or a supplementary welfare allowance);

and

as a result, is at significant risk of losing his or her tenancy.

To avail of the new PDRTA protections, a tenant meeting the requirements above must:

  • fill out the Self-Declaration form declaring that he or she is unable to pay rent due on foot of Covid-19 and is at risk of losing his or her tenancy;
  • submit the Self-Declaration form to the RTB and a copy of the form to his or her landlord;
  • at the same time, serve a notice on the RTB requesting assistance to obtain advice from the Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS); and
  • within 5 days of making his or her declaration, serve a notice on his or her landlord seeking a consultation to make an arrangement to pay their rent due.

A tenant can email the Self-Declaration form and the notice requesting assistance to seek MABS advice to the RTB at rentarrears@rtb.ie. The Self-Declaration form can be found here.

Subject to the landlord’s consent to the use of electronic correspondence, a tenant can email a copy of the Self-Declaration form and the notice seeking a consultation on a rent payment arrangement to his or her landlord. Alternatively, a tenant can use the postal service.

Tenants are advised to keep copies of correspondence with their landlord and the RTB as it may need to be submitted as evidence in the event of a dispute case arising.

A tenant who posts a notice to the RTB or to their landlord is advised to retain proof that the notice was sent, for example by using registered post. Tenants are also advised to keep a copy/photograph of any notices sent for your own records.

The PDRTA protections do not apply in the following circumstances:

  • where on 10 January 2021, a tenant is in rent arrears of an amount equal to 5 months’ rent or more; or
  • where a tenant does not serve a notice on the RTB seeking assistance to obtain MABS advice.

Where the PDRTA protections do not apply, the usual termination procedures apply with a 28-day notice of termination to be given by a landlord when terminating a tenancy on the grounds of rent arrears.

Please note that landlords also have rights under the new protections under the PDRTA. The new protections cease to apply to a tenant where a landlord makes a declaration under PDRTA, for example, where undue financial hardship would be caused to the landlord (further detail is outlined below).

The tenant must include material or relevant information/documentation with the Self-Declaration Form:

Where a tenant is sending a Self-Declaration form to the RTB and the landlord, the tenant must provide such information or copies of documents which may be material or relevant to the question of whether or not, during the period from 1 August 2020 to 12 January 2022 inclusive, the tenant is in receipt of (or was entitled to receive):

  • Illness Benefit for Covid-19 absence; or
  • the Temporary Wage Subsidy or any other social welfare payment or State support paid as a result of loss of earnings due to Covid-19 (this includes the rent supplement or a supplementary welfare allowance);

and

as a result, is at significant risk of losing his or her tenancy.

Where a tenant complies with these obligations (and subject to new landlord rights outlined above):

  • that tenancy cannot be ended before 13 January 2022;
  • the tenant must be provided with a minimum of 90 days’ notice to end the tenancy; and
  • their rent cannot be increased in respect of the period from 11 January 2021 to 12 January 2022 inclusive. New rent can take effect from 13 January 2022.

Tenants who Self-Declared between 1 August 2020 and 10 January 2021

To benefit from the protections under the RTVA, the last day the tenant could make a declaration to the RTB and to copy it to their landlord was 10th January 2021.

Tenants who made a declaration under the RTVA can also benefit from the protections under the PDRTA until 12th January 2022, subject to the following conditions:

  • where a tenant has already been in touch with the RTB for assistance to obtain advices for the Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS) and has a working rent payment arrangement in place with his or her landlord, the new PDRTA protections automatically apply. This means that any notice of termination relating to rent arrears under that tenancy cannot take effect before 13th January 2022 and the rent cannot be increased from 11th January 2021 to 12th January 2022 inclusive. New rent can take effect from 13th January 2022;
  • where a tenant has not already engaged with the RTB for assistance in obtaining MABS advice in relation to paying their rent due, he or she is required to complete and serve a notice on the RTB by midnight 15th January 2021 to seek such assistance;
  • where a tenant has not yet made an arrangement with his or her landlord for the payment of their rent due, he or she is required by midnight 15th January 2021 to complete and serve a notice on the RTB, to seek assistance to get MABS advice and to serve a further notice on their landlord to request a consultation to make an arrangement for the payment of the rent due.

Please note that it is not required that the rent payment arrangement be agreed by midnight 15 January 2021.

Tenants are advised to keep copies of correspondence with their landlord and the RTB.

A tenant who posts a notice to the RTB or to their landlord is advised to retain proof that the notice was sent, for example by using registered post. Tenants are also advised to keep a copy/photograph of any notices sent for your own records. If you are sending a notice to the RTB by email, please email: rentarrears@rtb.ie and keep any related acknowledgement letters from the RTB. Copies of all relevant correspondence should be submitted as evidence if a dispute arises.

A tenant can email the notice requesting assistance to seek MABS advice to the RTB at rentarrears@rtb.ie.

Subject to the landlord’s consent to the use of electronic correspondence, a tenant can email the notice seeking a consultation on a rent payment arrangement to his or her landlord. Alternatively, a tenant can use the postal service.

Important Information:

The protections under the RTVA expired on 10th January 2021 or, if later, upon the expiry date of any 90-day notice of termination served under that Act. The new protections under the PDRTA will be available from 11th January 2021 to 12th January 2022 inclusive or, if later, upon the expiry date of any 90-day notice of termination served under that Act.

The PDRTA protections do not apply in the following circumstances:

  • where on 10th January 2021, a tenant is in rent arrears of an amount equal to 5 months’ rent or more; or
  • where a tenant does not serve a notice on the RTB seeking assistance to obtain MABS advice.

Where the PDRTA protections do not apply, the usual termination procedures apply with a 28-day notice of termination to be given by a landlord when terminating a tenancy on the grounds of rent arrears.

Please note that landlords also have rights under the new protections under the PDRTA. The new protections cease to apply to a tenant where a landlord makes a declaration under PDRTA, for example, where undue financial hardship would be caused to the landlord. Copies of all relevant correspondence should be retained and submitted as evidence if a dispute arises.

Information for Landlords

Landlords’ right to make a Self-Declaration

The protections under Part 3 of the PDRTA cease to apply to a tenant where the landlord serves a written declaration to the RTB, and copies it to the tenant, stating that:

  1. on the date of making the landlord declaration, the amount of rent owed by the tenant equals the value of 5 months’ rent or more; or
  2. the tenant has failed or refused to provide the RTB or MABS with information or documentation required for the purpose of the tenant obtaining timely MABS advice; or
  3. the tenant has failed or refused to comply with the terms of an agreed rent payment arrangement with the landlord; or
  4. the application of the protections under the PDRTA to the tenant would cause undue financial hardship to the landlord.

The landlord is required to provide appropriate supporting information in his or her declaration, i.e. information which may be material or relevant to the question of whether or not any of the requirements under (i) to (iv) above are fulfilled. This information may be required if a dispute case is initiated by either party. The Self-Declaration form can be found here.

Under the PDRTA, undue financial hardship would arise for the landlord where:

(a) he or she is a relevant person;

A landlord is a ‘relevant person’ under the PDRTA if during the period from 1 August 2020 to 12 January 2022, he or she is in receipt of (or was entitled to receive):

  • Illness Benefit for Covid-19 absence; or
  • The Temporary Wage Subsidy or any other social welfare payment or State support paid as a result of loss of earnings due to Covid-19 (this includes the rent supplement or a supplementary welfare allowance).

or

(b) the rent in respect of the tenancy is the landlord’s sole or main income;

or

(c) the rented property is subject to a mortgage and the landlord is unlikely to be able to pay that mortgage if the rent due remains unpaid during the period from 11 January 2021 to 12 January 2022 inclusive.

What happens where the protections cease to/do not apply to a tenant?

Where the new protections under the PDRTA do not apply or cease to apply to a tenant, a landlord may end the tenancy.

The date that a tenancy is ended will differ depending on your circumstances:

  • If a landlord served a Notice of Termination for rent arrears on or before 10 January 2021 and a tenant served a valid Self-Declaration Form under the Residential Tenancies and Valuation Act 2020 (the RTVA), the earliest date that a tenant must provide vacant possession is the date that the protections under the RTVA cease to apply, i.e. on 10 January 2021 or upon the expiry of the 90-day termination notice period, whichever the later.
  • Where the PDRTA protections do not apply, the usual termination procedures apply with a 28-day notice of termination to be given by a landlord when terminating a tenancy on the grounds of rent arrears.
  • If a landlord served a Notice of Termination for rent arrears between 11 January 2021 and 12 January 2022, inclusive, and the new protections under the PDRTA cease to apply, the termination date specified in the Notice of Termination will be re-calculated to the date that falls 10 days after the later of:
  1.  The termination date in a Notice of Termination, grounded on rent arrears and served on the same day, where the protections of the PDRTA did not apply, i.e. 10 days after the usual 28-day rent arrears notice period; or
  2. The date that the PDRTA protections cease to apply.

Here are two examples:

Example 1: A landlord served a tenant with a 90-day Notice of Termination as the protections of the PDRTA applied to the tenant. On day 8 of the notice period, the protections ceased to apply to the tenant. The 90-day notice period will now end on day 38, 10 days after the earliest date that could be lawfully specified in the Notice of Termination in the normal manner, which provides for a 28-day notice period for tenancy termination due to rent arrears.

Example 2: A landlord served a tenant with a 90-day Notice of Termination as the protections of the PDRTA applied to the tenant. On day 30 of the notice period, the protections ceased to apply to the tenant. The 90-day notice period will now end on day 40, being 10 days after the protections of the PDRTA ceased to apply.

For more information, please read the Guidance Document or FAQs on the PDRTA.

 

For more information on the 10-step process for managing rent arrears under the PDRTA, please click here.

 

For the latest information on dispute resolution services during Covid-19, please click here.

 

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