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A memo will be brought to Cabinet by Housing Minister Darragh O'Brien. Shutterstock/fizkes

Rent freeze to be extended beyond 20 July

It is understood a memo will go to Cabinet on Monday to approve the measures.

THE TEMPORARY RENT freeze and ban on evictions is to be extended beyond Monday, it has been been confirmed today.

Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien had signalled last week that he wanted to extend the moratorium beyond next week’s deadline.

Responding to a question from People Before Profit’s Richard Boyd Barrett, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said the matter was discussed at Cabinet yesterday, stating that the temporary ban on evictions would not end on Monday.

“Minister O’Brien will make an announcement on that shortly, as to what his intentions are in relation to that, but it won’t end on Monday.

“As the deputy will appreciate, the legal advice around this is very strong, that it can only be temporary and can’t continue forever, for reasons that are well rehearsed.

“A medium term solution is going to be needed, as well as a temporary extension of the ban.

“Minister O’ Brien is working on that and will make a statement on it soon.”

It is understood a memo will go to Cabinet on Monday that will also include extending the rent freeze.

A new date at which both measures will lapse is yet to be set.

O’Brien told last week that he had written to Health Minister Stephen Donnelly to ask if there are public health grounds to extend the measures beyond July.

When asked if he wants to see the provisions pushed out, he said:

 “Yes, but it’s not going to be extended indefinitely.”

“I hope that we can,” he added.

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

“If it is extended – and I don’t know whether it is, I want to be very honest with you, I don’t know – we’ve work to do and Cabinet have to meet on this. I wrote today to [the Minister for] Health, I’ve got to get a response, obviously we’ve got to get legal advice and it’s got to be discussed, but we’re acutely aware of the situation,” said the minister.

The minister is currently working on drafting legislation on rental arrears, and strengthening the rights of tenants. It is understood he wants this legislation passed before the rent freeze and ban on evictions is lifted.

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