HUNDREDS of Limerick people whose incomes have been decimated by the Covid-19 pandemic could face the prospect of eviction next week.
A blanket ban on evictions, notices to quit and rent increases imposed by the Government during the early stages of the Covid-19 lockdown, is due to expire on Monday, June 20.
Limerick Sinn Féin TD Maurice Quinlivan is calling on the Government to ensure that the ban is extended to the end of the year to protect thousands of renters from sudden homelessness.
Speaking to the Limerick Post, he warned that failure to implement an extension, could put tens of thousands of renters at risk of homelessness, including hundreds of tenants in Limerick city and county.
“It also has the potential to destabilise whole sections of the private rental market,” he added.
Deputy Quinlivan does not believe that it is impossible to craft constitutionally sound legislation to address this issue.
“Property rights are not absolute. If the legislation is proportionate and provides landlord and tenants with due process, I believe it can meet the requirements of the constitution.
“Sinn Féin makes no apology for standing by renters. In Government we would be willing to go all the way to the Supreme Court to ensure renters are protected,” he claimed.
The Limerick Deputy went onto say that, in addition to extending the ban, the new Government must introduce a rent arrears debt resolution process including the option of partial and full arrears debt write downs.
He also believes that the Government must do more to ensure that banks provide interest free mortgage payment breaks to landlords whose tenants are affected by Covid-19 income loss.
“Good landlords must not be victim to reckless profiteering by lenders during the pandemic.
“The recent drop in the number of adults and children living in emergency accommodation is welcome. It showed that the ban on evictions, rent increases and the issuing of notices to quit is working and more families are staying in their homes as a result.
“It should now be extended until at the least the end of 2020 and a three-year ban on rent increases should be introduced. We need immediate action on the Government on this.
“Furthermore, the issuing of vacant possession notices to quit to tenants by buy-to-let landlords when they want to sell must become a thing of the past.
“These belated steps taken by the outgoing government to protect renters are working. But the unfortunate reality is that had Fine Gael taken this action two years ago, many families would never have entered homeless services in the first place,” he concluded.