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Cabinet approved proposal to assist renters, including students; landlords will not be allowed to demand advance rent

DUBLIN: The Irish government is set to pass a special law to assist tenants, including students. Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien’s proposal, which is expected to become legislation this summer, was approved by the cabinet yesterday. Under this law, landlords are not allowed to demand additional rent from renters in advance.

The renters just need to pay a deposit and one month’s rent in advance when signing the contract. The regulation also stipulates that the total value cannot exceed the cost of two months’ rent. This rule also applies to students who live in student-specific accommodation.

In a statement, Housing Minister said that he is aware of landlords who would buy up to a year’s rent in advance. The Minister said that many such issues were raised during a meeting with members of the Union of Students in Ireland.

The new regulations are intended to assist students looking for college accommodation for the new school year. However, these measures apply to all tenants.

All at the same, the new law allows homeowners who are now purchasing only one month’s advance on many Dublin properties to make further deposit purchases.

Minister for Higher Education Simon Harris said the new measure will help reduce the financial burden on college students. The minister said it would be applicable for the coming academic year.

There have been accusations that some sub-lenders, including Indians, charge students rent in advance. Sub-lenders used a variety of strategies, including evicting financially disadvantaged students from their rooms if they failed to pay rent for any reason. The new law may backfire on such homeowners.

Tenant protections extended for another six months

The government has also decided to provide special rental protection to people who have been financially impacted by COVID-19 pandemic. The law in this regard will be extended till January 12, 2022. The government’s decision comes as COVID-19 protections for renters are set to expire on July 12.

The rent protection legislation was enacted last August to prevent evictions and rent increases for financially distressed renters during the Pandemic.

There is also no provision in the law for increasing the rent of those receiving benefits under the Pandemic Unemployment Payment Scheme or the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme.

Sinn Féin spokesman voiced concern

Sinn Féin spokesperson for housing Eoin Ó Broin responded that the present change is the success of the students. Mr. Ó Broin said the Union of Students in Ireland, who “led the campaign for this change”, deserves real praise for the new government’s decision.

Ó Broin said protections for tenants has not been extended enough and a three-year ban is needed for rent increases.

“It is simply not conceivable that any tenant who’s paying for example, €1700 or more, which is the average rent now in Dublin City should be hit with any level of rent increase, let alone a rent increase of 8%,” Ó Broin said. The Sinn Féin spokesman expressed concern that the possibility of allowing rent increases still exists.

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