Government's renter Bill will 'lead to more homelessness' says former Mayor

Cllr Niall McNelis accesses Government of planning to 'criminalise tenants without doing the same to landlords'

"Flawed", "full of holes", and "fails to address the main excuses used for evicting tenants", is how one city councillor has described the Government's new Residential Tenancies Bill.

The controversial Residential Tenancies Bill has come under much fire for its lack of adequate protection for tenants and for its numerous exceptions in the terms for evictions. The Bill comes before the Dáil this week.

According to Labour Galway City West councillor, Niall McNelis, a former Mayor of Galway City, the Bill will give "very limited protection for those impacted by Covid-19" and that it will ultimately lead to "an increase in homelessness".

Cllr McNelis said the Bill will bring back no fault evictions, substantial renovation evictions, and evictions for the benefit of family members. He also pointed out that the Bill fails to strengthen the staffing of the Residential Tenancies Board for inspections and protection of renters in such cases.

'The Government must prepare for an increase in homelessness as its flawed Bill won’t stop people losing their homes. We know the pandemic ban on evictions worked to stop the increase in homelessness'

He said the Bill will only give protection from eviction until January to those who can prove they have been financially impacted by "a limited set of circumstances", and that it puts in place a complicated process to apply for that exception. He also accused the Government of planning to "criminalise tenants for false declarations without doing the same to landlords availing of eviction exceptions".

“The Bill fails to adequately address the main excuses used for evicting tenants which is a driving force of homelessness. It leaves too many exceptions in the terms for evictions, and there is a huge risk that from September we will see homelessness back and rising," he said. "The Government must prepare for that reality now as their flawed Bill won’t stop people losing their homes. We know the pandemic ban on evictions worked to stop the increase in homelessness."

Cllr McNelis also called on the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government, Darragh O'Brien, if the Bill, as proposed, will stop rent increases up to January 2020 for all tenants or just those impacted by Covid-19.

 

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