Government misrepresenting Residential Tenancies & Valuations Bill as “extending” protection when effect will be to remove protections for many
Passage of new Residential Tenancies Bill will open door to more evictions into homelessness during public health pandemic as second wave looms
In a statement, Richard Boyd Barrett TD for People Before Profit has said the Residential Tenancies and Valuations Bill 2020 which will come into the Dáil today is being “misrepresented by the government as an extension of protections for tenants, when in fact it will remove the protections from many tenants and allow landlords to resume evictions on the grounds of sale which was one of the major causes of evictions into homelessness prior to the pandemic.”
Deputy Boyd Barrett will be submitting amendments in the Dáil today to ensure that the protection against all evictions during the period of the pandemic contained in the emergency legislation passed in March of this year, as result of an amendment submitted by People Before Profit, will be retained.
Deputy Boyd Barrett said that if the Bill passes through the Dáil, as presented by the government, it will “immediately open the door to new evictions into homelessness on the grounds of sale, use or refurbishment.”
Deputy Boyd Barrett said it was “absolutely unacceptable that the government would allow evictions of people into homelessness in the midst of a pandemic, particularly when a second wave of the Covid 19 virus is widely anticipated in the autumn.”
Deputy Boyd Barrett pointed to the example of ten tenant households at St Helen’s Court apartment complex in Dún Laoghaire who, if the bill passes will face the prospect of immediate eviction at the hands of a vulture fund landlord who owns the complex and has made several attempts to evict the tenants over the last 3 years.
The St Helen’s Court tenants were in the last stages of an eviction process at the hands of the vulture fund, Mill Street Projects, prior to the introduction of the pandemic emergency eviction ban.
Deputy Boyd Barrett said: “The St Helen’s Court tenants and many like them will face eviction into homelessness because their issue is not pandemic related rent arrears, their problem is that their landlord is a greedy vulture fund that has tried repeatedly to evict them to drive up the value of the property and is just waiting to proceed with the eviction regardless of the fact that these tenants will find themselves homeless in the midst of a pandemic that is still very much with us.”
Deputy Boyd Barrett said:
“It is an absolute disgrace that the government would bow to landlord pressure and re-open the door to the kind of evictions that have been the main source of people being made homeless before the pandemic. This action will lead to an immediate resumption of evictions and the number entering homelessness will start to rise again. With a second wave of Covid 19 widely expected the idea that the government would allow landlords to resume evictions in homelessness is unthinkable and outrageous.
“Until we have a vaccine for Covid 19 and there is no public health threat, evictions that result in people entering homeless services or being forced into overcrowded conditions, couch surfing with family or friends, is completely incompatible with the necessity to protect public health and prevent the further transmission of Covid 19”.