Temporary Suspension of Termination for Residential Tenancies Introduced
The Residential Tenancies (Deferment of Termination Dates of Certain Tenancies) Act 2022 (the “Act”) was enacted on 29 October 2022, providing for temporary protection from termination for certain residential tenants.
The Act amends the Residential Tenancies Acts 2004 to 2022 (the “RTA”) by introducing a temporary protection for residential tenants (including students in student-specific accommodation) from termination of their tenancies during the period beginning on 30 October 2022 and ending on 31 March 2023, referred to as the “winter emergency period”.
Tenancies of 7 years or longer will be capable of termination on 1 April 2023, if the termination of a tenancy would otherwise fall during the winter emergency period. For other tenancies, there is to be a phased re-introduction of deferred termination from 1 April 2023 (ie, after the winter emergency period has expired).
The phased re-introduction of termination rights for landlords will be determined by reference to the duration of the tenancy and whether the termination date otherwise falls on or before 31 January 2023, or on or after 1 February 2023. The earliest deferred terminations will take effect on 15 April 2023 and the latest deferred terminations will take effect on 18 June 2023, with the relevant date calculated by reference to tenancy duration and when the termination date would otherwise have fallen due. The full list of deferred termination dates is contained in the legislation and is available on the Residential Tenancy Board’s website: www.rtb.ie.
Subject to the exclusions referred to below, the Act also clarifies that if the notice of termination is served during the winter emergency period, a landlord may not terminate a tenancy of less than six months any earlier than 18 June 2023.
The Act does not restrict termination of tenancies where the tenancy is being terminated for failure to pay rent or other non-compliance with the tenant’s statutory obligations or where the dwelling is no longer suitable for the accommodation needs of the tenant and others living with them. Termination on any of these grounds remains open to the landlord during the winter emergency period subject, importantly, to compliance with the notice and other requirements in respect of each under the general provisions of the RTA.
Interaction with Covid-19 protections
The Act acknowledges the ongoing application, under the Residential Tenancies Act 2020 (the “2020 Act”) of the general protection from termination of all residential tenants affected by Covid-19-imposed Level 5 (or 5km) movement restrictions. Although movement restrictions have not applied since the lapsing of the last restrictions on 12 April 2021, if the 2020 Act protections were triggered by Level 5 movement restrictions at the same time as the protections introduced by the Act, the latest termination date under both regimes would apply.
Institutional landlords are unlikely to be greatly affected by the new measures and are already subject to restrictions on termination for sale of 10 or more units within the same development in a 6 month period. Given the nature of their portfolios, it is also more likely that institutional landlords would prefer to sell their investments with tenancies in place. This leaves the burden of the new measures to fall instead on private landlords, with statistics showing that they have been leaving the sector in ever larger numbers over the last couple of years.
This document has been prepared by McCann FitzGerald LLP for general guidance only and should not be regarded as a substitute for professional advice. Such advice should always be taken before acting on any of the matters discussed.