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Rent freeze and eviction ban to be extended, says Housing Minister

Murphy said new legislation would not be needed for the extension.

Image: Leon Farrell/Rolling News

HOUSING MINISTER EOGHAN Murphy has said he foresees the rent freeze and the temporary ban on evictions being extended further following the publication of the roadmap to lifting certain restrictions last night. 

Initially, a temporary ban on evictions and a pause on rent increases were introduced for a period of three months back in March, but the government warned at the time that it may be extended if deemed necessary.

Speaking today at the launch of a new suite of business supports, Murphy said the likely extension was not something that needed new legislation or a new government. 

“The two bans, if you like, that are in place around rent increases and notices to quit, they currently run until about the 27 June,” Murphy told reporters.  

“I foresee them being extended, but that decision hasn’t been made by cabinet.”

Under the rules, landlords cannot impose a rent increase on their tenants during the crisis, and if a person has received a notice request to leave the apartment or home they are renting that process will now be suspended. 

When asked about the Government meeting its public and affordable housing targets this year, Murphy said there “will be some slippage” due to the closure of the country’s constructions sites. 

“We hope not too much because we did identify some sites, and they were able to be opened up under the emergency measures,” said Murphy.

Construction works at three social-housing development sites resumed at the end of April after the green light was given by Government.

As part of phase one of the road map to reopen the country, there will be a phased return of outdoor workers starting 18 May. This includes the construction industry but social distancing will be required. 

“We have a good document I think, a good understanding with the construction industry as to how we can get all sites reopened in a phased basis, according to new social distancing and health and safety criteria, and that’s being analysed at the moment.”

Data on social housing completions by local authorities for 2019 have yet to be released, but Murphy claimed that when they’re released next week “they’ll show that we met that target of 10,000 new homes into social housing stock but a breakdown will be provided and we can go into it next week at the time”. 

Figures from a Rebuilding Ireland report last December found that about 36% of the state’s targeted number of new social housing units for 2019 were built in the first nine months of this year.  

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Adam Daly

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