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Covid-19 eviction ban will be extended but can’t last forever, says Varadkar

The temporary ban on evictions and rent increases was set to expire on July 20.

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Tanaiste Leo Varadkar said the ban ‘can only be temporary’ (Niall Carson/PA)

Tanaiste Leo Varadkar said the ban ‘can only be temporary’ (Niall Carson/PA)

Tanaiste Leo Varadkar said the ban ‘can only be temporary’ (Niall Carson/PA)

The temporary ban on evictions and rent increases first introduced during the pandemic will not end on Monday.

People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett said there are a lot of tenants who are “very anxious” about the prospect of being evicted from their homes.

He said: “The idea that people will be evicted into situations of homelessness, faced with the current pandemic, is unthinkable – from a public health point of view and a moral point of view.”

The current emergency ban on notice-to-quits, evictions and rent increases is due to expire this Monday, July 20.

It was introduced in March to protect tenants during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tanaiste Leo Varadkar said the Cabinet discussed the issue of evictions on Wednesday and Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien will make an announcement about it soon.

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Richard Boyd Barrett said a lot of tenants are ‘very anxious’ (Brian Lawless/PA)

Richard Boyd Barrett said a lot of tenants are ‘very anxious’ (Brian Lawless/PA)

PA

Richard Boyd Barrett said a lot of tenants are ‘very anxious’ (Brian Lawless/PA)

He said: “The temporary ban on evictions won’t end on Monday. But as the Deputy will appreciate, the legal advice around this is very strong. It can only be temporary and can’t be forever – for reasons that are well rehearsed.

“A medium-term solution is going to be needed as well as a temporary extension to the ban.”

The Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Covid-19 Act states that renters can only be forced to leave their accommodation in exceptional circumstances.

It was supposed to end after three months but former housing minister Eoghan Murphy extended it until July 20.

Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien said he will bring a memo to Cabinet on Monday following further consultation on the matter.

Mr O’Brien said he is also working with housing department officials and the Attorney General on long-term solutions for renters.

He said he has been clear in his desire to see the rent freeze and eviction moratorium extended.

“However, I am very aware that there are legal implications for doing so.

“The rent freeze and eviction moratorium which was brought in under emergency legislation will not be extended indefinitely so it is important to have alternative protections in place to safeguard renters.

“I am currently working with the Attorney General on legislation in this regard and I want to have it enacted prior to the Dail recess,” he said.

Sinn Fein spokesperson on Housing Eoin O Broin TD descried Mr O’Brien’s statement on the extension of the eviction ban as “a complete shambles”.

He said: “It beggars belief that this matter couldn’t have been satisfactorily resolved in advance of the deadline expiring on Monday.

“Renters need support and clarity now.

“It appears the Government is blaming a restrictive interpretation of the Constitution by the Attorney General for its failure to provide real protections for renters.

“They cannot hide behind this as an excuse for not doing the right thing.

“At a minimum, they should have extended the ban until October.

“However, in reality, many renters need this protection until at least the end of the year.”

PA