Covid-19 eviction ban and rent moratorium extended until August 1

Minister for Housing, Darragh O'Brien, says he's received legal advice from the Attorney General that the restriction on a landlord's constitutional property rights is now "at variance" with the easing of lockdown.
Covid-19 eviction ban and rent moratorium extended until August 1
Fianna Fáil housing minister Darragh O'Brien. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

The rent freeze and eviction moratorium has been extended by eleven days, and will now lapse on August 1.

Minister for Housing, Darragh O'Brien, says he has received legal advice from Attorney General Paul Gallagher that the restriction on a landlord's constitutional property rights is now "at variance" with the easing of lockdown.

In a statement issued tonight, the TD has encouraged tenants that have lost their job to apply for rent supplement.

“I have said previously that any person who has lost their job as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and is struggling to pay their rent may be eligible to apply for the rent supplement and I would encourage them to do so.

“As outlined in the Programme for Government improving the standards, security and affordability for all renters is a key priority for this Government, and is something I am totally committed to,”

Sinn Féin housing spokesman Eoin O'Broin says that he's not surprised that the Attorney General opposed a longer extension of the ban.

"Our trouble is Fine Gael and now Fianna Fáil appoint Attorney Generals that take a conservative-with-a-small-c, restrictive view of property rights.

"If you appoint such an individual, you can't complain about the advice you would have expected to get from them. That worries me about where this government is going to go with the Attorney General's advice."

The announcement comes amid speculation of heated discussions between O'Brien and the AG, and mounting calls for the measures, brought in to protect tenants amid the outbreak of the pandemic, to be extended to the end of the year.

Commenting on tonight's announcement, National Spokesperson for the Simon Community, Wayne Stanley urged more immediate action.

"We note the legislative difficulties that the Minister has outlined. However, the 11th hour and seemingly piecemeal nature of the decision has been cruel for those individuals and families at risk of homelessness. 

"The lifting of the moratoria has to be contingent on the government putting in place an array of preventative supports to keep as many individuals and families out of homelessness as is possible."

Earlier today, People Before Profit TD for Dun Laoghaire, Richard Boyd Barrett, said the lack of a clear announcement until late this evening from government has left renters vulnerable.

"First thing this morning, I had tenants coming in from Dun Laoghaire saying their landlords were moving to evict them, specifically on the grounds that the eviction ban had not been extended and no announcement had been made.

"To evict people into homelessness at any time is disgraceful, but it is utterly unthinkable during a public health emergency."

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