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Radon testing, longer notice periods and Statewide rent pressure zone: TDs table changes to new rent laws

The government also wants to increase the notice periods for tenants, as well as laying down new rules for short-term lets, such as AirBnb.

Image: Shutterstock/David Soanes

TDS HAVE TABLED a number of amendments to the new legislation which aims to overhaul the rental sector and give more rights to tenants.

The Residential Tenancies Act has been a long time coming, with Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy promising that it will fundamentally change the rental market in Ireland.

It aims to do this by giving the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) the powers to carry out investigations and impose sanctions on landlords, as well as setting the rules for rent pressure zones (with additional zones added just recently).

The government also wants to increase the notice periods for tenants, as well as laying down new rules for short-term lets, such as AirBnb.

The proposed new law is to be discussed and scrutinised in committee today, with a number of opposition TDs putting down their own amendments to the legislation. 

Radon testing

The Green Party has called for landlords to carry out radon testing at their properties every three months, with the results to be given tenants living in the property. The party’s leader Eamon Ryan also wants the landlord to have to take remedial action in cases of dangerous concentrations of radon. 

In addition, TDs from Solidarity-People Before Profit are unhappy with the government’s proposals in relation to the notice period for termination of a tenancy. The government wants it set at 28 days for tenancies up to six months.

However, an amendment to the legislation tabled by TDs such as Richard Boyd Barrett and Bríd Smith, calls for the notice period to be set at 28 days for someone living in a property up to three months. Anyone living in a property for up to six months should have at least 60 days notice to vacate the property.

Fianna Fáil’s Darragh O’Brien is calling for a National Rent Transparency Register to be established within six months of the enactment of the new laws, while Labour’s Jan O’Sullivan wants to see a Rent Pressure Zone to be established State-wide for a period of three years.

Sinn Féin’s Housing spokesperson, Eoin Ó Broin told TheJournal.ie that the legislation and many of the amendments from both government and opposition provide an important opportunity to strengthen tenants’ rights, including students in purpose-built student accommodation. 

He said his party wants students to have the protection of both Residential Tenancies Act and the Residential Tenancies Board, as well as wanting tenants to have longer periods when a notice to quit is served.

“In addition we have tabled amendments to remove sale of property and use of a family member as reasons for issuing a notice to quit. We also want to remove the exemption from rent rules for new properties onto the market and increase the notice period for tenants who have been in place for less than six months,” he said. 

He said today “could be a good day for tenants and the rental sector. The Committee must carefully scrutinise what are, in many cases, very technical amendments, and then made the right decisions”.

In relation to the laws to regulate short-term lets, a number of TDs have voiced concerns that the legislation might not be ready in time for summer.

The much-anticipated regulations are due to come into force in June in areas with high housing demand. 

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