Landlords use loopholes in law to evict tenants despite ban, Dáil hears

Landlords are using a special clause in eviction-banning laws to evict tenants from large rental properties in Dublin, two leading TDs told the Dáil.

As some of the families looked on from the Dáil’s public gallery, Taoiseach Micheál Martin was personally and dramatically urged to save these people’s homes.

Some 35 families in Kilmainham are at risk of eviction, while 20 families or individuals in Rathmines are facing a similar threat.

Union leader Ivana Bacik called on the Taoiseach to act to save people from losing their homes, which in some cases they have lived in for 10 to 20 years and in many cases pay rents averaging over €1,200 a month.

“They should act to protect tenants’ homes. A house should not be a commodity,” Ms. Bacik said.

People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett said some of those threatened with eviction came to Leinster House with him today and he pointed to them in the visitors’ gallery.

He also said there were representatives from a third Dublin group which had been battling eviction threats for four years and once again faced another risk of losing their homes.

“This is literally a life and death situation for them and they have done nothing wrong,” Boyd Barrett said.

He also called on the government to use the €500 million in unspent housing allocations to buy up the properties in question and ensure tenancy security.

The Labor leader said Section 35(a) of the recent amending legislation prohibiting evictions was behind the latest twist. Ms Bacik said this allows landlords to claim special difficulties if they proceed with the sale of the property.

In the case of the Rathmines properties, landlords argued that if the buildings were sold while tenants were still living there, they would lose 20 percent of the sale value.

Ms Bacik said the real estate company involved owns up to 70 apartments across the city. She said the latest figures for 2019 put the value of these properties at around €20 million – putting the allegations of “undue hardship” into context.

The Taoiseach replied that the housing minister would work with the local authority to offer as much help as possible. He added that they would try to ensure that the tenants concerned were fully informed of their rights and that those rights were respected.

But Mr Martin also said buying buildings as suggested might not be an appropriate tool in these cases. He defended the government’s record of trying to protect renters – but said the real answer was to build more houses and increase supply.

The Taoiseach said the eviction ban must be balanced on constitutional grounds, taking into account landlords’ rights to a fair return on their property and protecting tenants from evictions until at least the end of next March. Landlords use loopholes in law to evict tenants despite ban, Dáil hears

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