Focus Ireland calls on Minister Murphy to fast-track temporary ban on evictions during Covid 19 pandemic

Focus Ireland has called on Minister Eoghan Murphy and the Dáil to reconvene in order to fast track a temporary ban on new eviction notices and rent increases.

Focus Ireland CEO, Pat Dennigan said:

“These likely measures on banning evictions temporarily are very welcome and will ease some of the concerns but they must be implemented as soon as possible. Another issue which is worrying tenants who are out of work due to the Covid-19 pandemic is how they are going to pay their rent. The solution to this for most people is to access the Rent Supplement, we welcome the preparation that the Department of Employment and Social Protection has made to make the scheme more accessible during the crisis, and would strongly encourage them to run a pro-active communications campaign to make people aware of the scheme.”

Focus Ireland warned that there is a lot of misinformation out there, with for instance the Irish Property Owners Association yesterday advising tenants to apply for the Housing Assistance Payment – the wrong payment in the wrong Government Department (HAP is a payment delivered by local authorities for people in long-term housing need, while Rent Supplement is a payment delivered by the DEASP Intreo offices for short-term issues such as lay-offs or sickness).

The charity said that over 20% of households rent their homes from private landlords, and the number is much higher in towns and in the sort of employments which have been hardest hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mr Dennigan added:

“While measures to get the banks to take pressure off landlords and enable them to show ‘forbearance’ are all very well meaning, most tenants don’t want to have to ask their landlord for a favour, they just want to be able to pay their own rent, not build up debts, and keep their home secure. Working tenants have been paying their taxes so that schemes like Rent Supplement are there for them in a crisis.”

There is no online application for Rent Supplement but private rented tenants who have been laid off due to the Covid-19 emergency, or who are unwell, should ask about Rent Supplement when they phone the DEASP Covid-19 help-line, or phone their Intreo office directly. The numbers for the Intreo offices are on the website.

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