Taoiseach denies ‘caving to landlords’ over eviction ban

Taoiseach denies ‘caving to landlords’ over eviction ban
Taoiseach Micheal Martin visits Northern Ireland

The Taoiseach has denied “caving to landlords” amid sharp exchanges in the Dail over the Government’s housing policy.

The Government extended the temporary ban on evictions and rent increases for a further 10 days until August 1.

Under the emergency laws introduced at the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis, tenants cannot be forced to leave a property, and rent increases are prohibited for the duration of the crisis.

Social Democrats TD Cian O’Callaghan asked what the plan is for renters as they need certainty in the long term.

A short extension under existing emergency legislation will allow time to bring forward robust new laws that will provide real protection to tenants and property owners, Micheal Martin said.

He said: “There will be an extension but equally there is a need for primary legislation  to deal with this because the existing legislative base is not solid. We have to do it right and the new law will protect tenants who would be unable to pay their rent due to Covid-19.

(left to right) Fianna Fail’s Darragh O’Brien and Michael Martin (PA)

“The new legislation will protect tenants on a statutory footing and is focused on the vulnerable in our society.”

Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien has drafted legislation aimed at protecting renters, which will be brought to another Cabinet meeting which is expected to be held at Dublin Castle on Tuesday evening.

Independent TD Mick Barry criticised the Government for not extending the eviction ban for a further period and accused him of “caving to landlords.”

Mr Martin said the new legislation will offer greater protection to renters in the long term.

He said: “I am not caving into anybody. Go into the courts and lose? The advice is very, very clear. The current statutory instrument is not legally sustainable. Government has to act legally.

“It is easy for you and other opposition to TDs to say the Government should act illegally – we cannot act illegally.

“We want to protect renters, protect people from being evicted and the legislation gives us a stronger foundation primary legislation to do that.”

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