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'Business as usual' as 1,100 households given eviction notices since August

Sinn Féin housing spokesperson Eoin O’Broin said the gradual increase in termination notices since January is “worrying”.

MORE THAN 1,100 households have been served with eviction notices since August despite a ban on people losing their homes for part of that period. 

Figures from the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) show that in the last 10 months, 3,800 households have been served with rent arrears warning notices while 1,122 have been issued with notices of termination of their tenancy. 

There are now concerns that people could be forced to leave their rented accommodation after the ban on evictions was lifted in April with just 475 having sought Government protection over the inability to pay rent since August. 

Cabinet last week extended the current Covid-19 protections for renters with those who have been negatively impacted by the pandemic seeing their protections extended beyond 12 July. 

The protections were extended for another six months beyond July, until 12 January 2022. 

Tenants can avoid being evicted or having their rent increased until this date if they can prove they are in rent arrears or at risk of losing their tenancy, however RTB figures show that just 475 out of the 3,800 people in rent arrears have made these declarations. 

Labour’s Housing spokesperson Rebecca Moynihan said the number of people registering as being financially impacted “is ridiculously low”.

“The system is too cumbersome and doesn’t give protection to the vast majority of renters who have been impacted by the pandemic,” she said. 

RTB figures show that 59 eviction notices were issued in January during the height of the Level 5 lockdown and this gradually increased, month by month, up to 170 households being served with notices in May. 

The most common reason given for notice of termination (49% of cases) was that the landlord intends selling the property, while 24% of cases involved a landlord or a landlord’s family member moving into a property. 

A total of 488 households received a rental arrears notice in May but only 20 made self-declarations to receive Government assistance. 

Opposition parties have said the criteria to meet this assistance is too cumbersome. To avail of assistance people must prove income loss and submit a written declaration to the RTB.  

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Sinn Féin housing spokesperson Eoin O’Broin said the gradual increase in termination notices since January is “worrying”.

“The fear many of us have is that it could lead to an increase in evictions and people ending in homeless and emergency accommodation, that’s unacceptable.”

O’Broin said that “the overwhelming majority of tenants are just struggling to get by and we should not be allowing a situation where those people are forced to leave their accommodation and have to search for other accommodation when doing so still carries a risk”.

Labour’s Moynihan said the RTB figures show “it’s back to business as usual for tenants being evicted” and called for policy to strengthen tenants’ rights. 

This work is co-funded by Journal Media and a grant programme from the European Parliament. Any opinions or conclusions expressed in this work is the author’s own. The European Parliament has no involvement in nor responsibility for the editorial content published by the project. For more information, see here.

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