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Housing charity dealt with over 100 illegal or threatened evictions during pandemic ban

A ban on eviction notices and rent increases was put in place temporarily earlier this year.

Image: Shutterstock/Formatoriginal

HOUSING CHARITY THRESHOLD has said it intervened in more than 100 illegal or threatened evictions during periods when eviction bans were in place due to the pandemic.

Threshold today released its 2019 annual report and additional details on some help given during the pandemic this year.

Speaking at the report launch, chairperson of Threshold Aideen Hayden said the ban on evictions put in place in March and then again in October “did offer some reprieve for tenants”. 

“In spite of this, however, Threshold had to intervene in over 100 illegal or threatened evictions and advised on almost 300 invalid notices of termination between March and August, when the first moratorium was in place,” she said.

In some of these cases, tenants came home to find the locks changed, their belongings still inside and had nowhere to go.

The charity said that last year it prevented 8,351 households from entering homelessness, impacting more than 10,700 adults and almost 8,000 children. 

The advisors in the group answered 267 calls each day last year and carried out more than 82,000 actions on behalf of renters. 

More than one-third of all renters seeking assistance from the group in 2019 had received a notice of termination from their landlord.

Of these people, nearly half (45%) had received the notice because their landlord was intending to sell the property. 

60% of renters who sought assistance from the group last year were employed and just 10% were under the age of 25. 

Three-quarters were aged between 25 and 44. 

 Hayden said this shows the “profile of renters in Ireland is changing”. 

“It shows that renting is no longer just a transitional tenure for students and young people, before they buy their own home or secure social housing.

“Those aged over 35 are more likely now to rent for life but, without affordable rental options, there will be a housing affordability crisis for this cohort – as well as for the State – when they retire.”

The Housing Minister Daragh O’Brien spoke at the virtual launch of the 2019 report, saying the department made €800,000 in funding available to the charity this year.  

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Covid-19 

Near the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis in Ireland, a range of protections were put in place for people affected by the pandemic.

The rental protections during the emergency period included the ban on eviction notices and rent increases introduced in March. These protections ended on 1 August. 

Those measures were then replaced by new rental laws that protect tenants economically affected by Covid-19 who have fallen into rent arrears and who are at risk of losing their tenancy. Those rental laws apply until 10 January 2021. 

A temporary ban on evictions was also put in place for six weeks during the last period of Level 5 restrictions in October and November. 

During that recent period, Hayden said Threshold intervened in 17 illegal or threatened evictions and advised on 69 invalid eviction notices. 

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