After the turbulent two years, there was a hope that in 2022 there will be some normalcy in the real estate sector. Unfortunately, the Ukraine war and associated economic challenges escalated the level of ambiguity. For example, the Irish rents escalated up to 20% in a few cities and average rents were 13.5% higher than in 2021. Families with low income are concerned about getting eviction notices as the eviction ban is expiring in several weeks.
Oliver Tighe is a property solicitor, Irish-born but currently based in London. He gives free Solicitor advice on related-estate matters like rental best practices tenancies, etc.
What is an Irish eviction ban?
The Irish winter eviction ban is a temporary measure introduced by the Irish government to prevent landlords from evicting tenants during the winter months, which typically run from November 1st to April 1st. The ban was first introduced in 2015 and has been renewed annually since then.
Under the winter eviction ban, landlords are prohibited from evicting tenants from their rented accommodation, except in certain limited circumstances, such as when a tenant has engaged in anti-social behavior or is in breach of their tenancy agreement. The ban applies to all residential tenancies, including private rented accommodation and social housing.
The winter eviction ban aims to protect tenants from the risk of homelessness during the cold winter months when finding alternative accommodation can be particularly challenging. It also provides tenants with greater security and stability in their homes, which is particularly important for vulnerable or marginalized groups, such as low-income families or those experiencing housing insecurity.
Is Government’s decision to introduce an eviction ban right?
The State is experiencing an ongoing housing crisis with winter season around the corner. There are just 35 Housing Assistance Payment properties available for rent. The local authorities operate HAP that works towards supporting people with long-term housing needs. Besides, the rents have increased by 12% within a year in Ireland. It is estimated that double the number of tenants will be served eviction notices than last year.
The Government is planning to present the evictions ban before the cabinet but there is a controversy. The opposition parties, tenant advocacy groups, homelessness charities, and those who believe in protecting the rights of renters are supporting the introduction of an eviction ban.
On the other hand, the IPOA [Irish Property Owners Association] are strongly against eviction bans, as it can affect their ability to collect rent or remove tenants who violate lease agreements or cause property damage. Some argue that eviction bans unfairly burden the property owners and can lead to financial hardships for them.
According to the IPOA chairman, landlords are leaving the private rental sector because it is over-taxed and over-regulated. Government is unsuccessful in offering affordable social housing, which has increased homelessness…the landlords are not responsible.
Will the introduction of an eviction ban resolve the housing crisis?
Both the proponents and the opponents claim that the eviction ban will not resolve the housing crisis. However, according to supporters, an eviction moratorium will give some latitude during winter months. Alternatively, an opponent noted that it may push an escalating crisis below the line.