Minister Eoghan Murphy's statement on the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Bill
The Government today (11 December 2018) gave its approval to publish the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Bill, which includes:
- Providing powers to the RTB to investigate and sanction landlords who engage in improper conduct including non-compliance with the rent increase restriction in RPZs;
- A sanction could cost a landlord in breach up to €30,000 and a written caution (a financial penalty of up to €15,000; payment of RTB investigation costs of up to €15,000).
- Making it a criminal offence for landlords to implement rent increases that contravene the law, that do not adhere to new definitions of a substantial change, failure to cooperate with an investigation, failure to register and update tenancies with the RTB.
- Allowing the RTB to initiate an investigation without the need for a complaint to be made;
- Requiring the annual registration of tenancies with the RTB;
- Allowing the publication of RTB determinations in respect of any dispute;
- Providing a legal definition of ‘substantial change in the nature of accommodation provided under tenancy’ in the context of qualifying for an exemption from the rent increase restriction.
- An amendment to allow the RTB to publish rental amounts in its register. This proposed amendment is receiving due diligence by the Office of the Attorney General to ensure that any measure to be introduced will be legally sound. Enhanced rent transparency is a key goal.
- Significantly extending the notice periods for tenancy terminations by landlords:
|Duration of tenancy||Current Notice Period||Notice Period in Bill*|
|Less than 6 months||28 days||28 days|
|6 or more months but less than 1 year||35 days||90 days|
|1 year or more but less than 2 years||42 days||120 days|
|2 years or more but less than 3 years||56 days||120 days|
|3 years or more but less than 4 years||84 days||120 days|
|4 years or more but less than 5 years||112 days||120 days|
|5 years or more but less than 6 years||140 days||140 days|
|6 years or more but less than 7 years||168 days||168 days|
|7 years or more but less than 8 years||196 days||196 days|
|8 or more years||224 days||224 days|
The Minister said: “The key measures and reforms are designed to enhance enforcement powers for the RTB, provide greater security of tenure for tenants and further underpin the operation of the Rent Pressure Zone (RPZ) arrangements, along with some further targeted priority measures.”
Amendments to the Bill
“I will also need to introduce Government amendments to the Bill as it makes its way through the legislative process in the Houses of the Oireachtas. I was keen to publish the Bill as soon as possible to let everyone in the sector know that Government is serious in its intent to stamp out any improper conduct by landlords, particularly with regard to flouting the rent increase restrictions.
I hope to introduce an amendment to allow the RTB to publish rental amounts in its register. This proposal is receiving due diligence by the Office of the Attorney General. Enhanced rent transparency is our goal and an important one.”
Purpose Built Student Accommodation
“Other significant proposed amendments to the Bill are being worked on by my officials and by officials in the Department of Education and Skills and in the Office of the Attorney General to possibly extend the application of certain provisions of the Residential Tenancies Acts, particularly those connected to rent setting, to purpose built student (specific) accommodation let under licence by private providers or let under licence/tenancy by public providers.”
“The proposed new powers for the RTB are a crucial first step in expanding its overall role and function as part of a multi-annual change management programme to proactively enforce tenancy law within the rental sector, while also robustly defending the rights of tenants and landlords alike.”
“The supply of new homes is increasing. As it increases we need to protect those who are renting while we also reform our rented sector. Not only will this help as we continue to address the crisis in homelessness, it will also deliver greater stability and transparency to the rental sector.”