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Bill extending security for hard-hit renters due to Covid pandemic signed into law by President Higgins

Green Party TD resigned as party whip and voted against the bill this week over concerns it did not go far enough to protect renters.

Housing Minister Darragh O'Brien
Housing Minister Darragh O'Brien
Image: Sam Boal

PRESIDENT MICHAEL D Higgins has signed the Residential Tenancies and Valuation Bill into law, extending some securities for renters experiencing hardship as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The legislation replaced the temporary measures, which were set to lapse on 1 August, and which prevented evictions and rent increases for tenants during the pandemic. 

The measures proposed under the new Bill include protections to renters who have fallen into rent arrears, giving them 28 days to pay owed rent before they can be evicted.

Rent increases for workers who are on the Pandemic Unemployment Payment or Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme will be banned. 

The Bill proved controversial this week after Green Party TD Neasa Hourigan voted against it despite it being tabled by Government.

She insisted the Bill does not go far enough to protect renters and subsequently resigned as Green Party whip. 

Hourigan said that she voted against the Bill “because I hold significant concerns as to the impact of the government legislation on people living in precarious tenancies”.

“The government’s legislation does not offer enough protection for renters on eviction due to sale, recognised as a driver of homelessness, nor does it sufficiently recognise the risks posed by the rent arrears accrued during the pandemic,” she said.

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Hourigan, along with Junior Minister Joe O’Brien who also abstained from the vote, was sanctioned by the party which suspended their speaking time for two months. 

Sinn Féin and the Labour Party also raised concerns about the bill but with enough votes from the majority Government, it passed and has become law until January when it will be reviewed again. 

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