Landlords will ‘not stand idly by’ if eviction ban is extended

Need for balance in any new legislation, says Fianna Fáil justice spokesman Jim O’Callaghan

The IPOA said the creation of 'any further unfairness' by the Government would lead it to 'exploring all avenues of redress to protect our position'

The body representing the owners of private rental properties has said it will “not stand idly by” if the Government chooses to extend the current ban on evictions or introduces other measures which it believes infringes the rights of its members.

The Irish Property Owners Association (IPOA), which again called for the abandonment of the current eviction ban and system of rent pressure zones (RPZs), said the creation of “any further unfairness” by the Government would lead it to “exploring all avenues of redress to protect our position”.

IPOA chairperson Mary Conway was reacting to reports that the Coalition is considering extending the current ban on evictions with additional exceptions for landlords.

It is understood that three options are under consideration: first, let the evictions ban lapse at the end of March; second, extend the current ban, with potential exemptions for landlords who want to move back into the property or allow their children to do so; and third, introduce a recurring winter eviction ban.


Eviction ban extension may make exception for landlords ‘rehoming’Opens in new window ]

Asked about the proposals, Ms Conway said the IPOA had “consistently expressed serious reservations over the constitutionality of the introduction of the ban, and we had highlighted this on numerous occasions with senior politicians over the past number of years”.

“The continual erosion of IPOA members legal rights is a situation we will not stand idly by and watch. The creation of any further unfairness will result in us exploring all avenues of redress to protect our position,” she said.

She said the IPOA’s position remained that both the ban and the system of RPZs should be abolished, arguing that in the case of the evictions ban the Government action was proving counterproductive.

Instead, she said, “it is crucial that Government adopts an adequate policy response that is aimed at improving supply through the incentivisation of landlords, and generally adopting policies that will assist supply is key”.

The IPOA had previously threatened to take legal action over the eviction ban prior to its introduction on October 30th last.

Speaking on RTÉ Radio 1’s This Week, Fianna Fáil’s justice spokesman Jim O’Callaghan said an eviction ban was a “complex issue” and must take the rights of both property owners and tenants into account.

“When you look at the eviction bans that were introduced during Covid and during last winter, I think they were merited and they were clearly constitutional. However, if there’s a permanent eviction ban, that’s going to be unconstitutional,” he said.

“Obviously the Government has to balance any measures it brings in to ensure it reflects all the rights of individuals involved and if there is a challenge, and if the eviction ban is extended the Government is going to have to ensure the rights of property owners are given some recognition in that legislation.”

Meanwhile, bus operator Go-Ahead has flagged concerns about housing being a “huge barrier” for drivers from other countries, with the Department of Transport saying it has resulted in some returning to their home country.

The department contacted the bus company last year regarding plans for non-EU bus drivers to be permitted to work in the State to help tackle recruitment problems in the sector.

In correspondence released to The Irish Times under the Freedom of Information Act, Go-Ahead Ireland told the department last November: “We tried this approach of bringing in people from other EU countries and housing was a huge barrier, which meant the people gave up and left to go back to their home country.

“We have challenges closer to home with the process for training drivers and maybe a focus could be put on the RSA [Road Safety Authority] in supporting them to get those things moving.”

A quota of 1,500 employment permits for non-EU bus and coach drivers was established by the Department of Enterprise in mid-December. To date, 18 bus and coach permits have been issued, while one permit has been refused and another withdrawn, it said.

A spokeswoman for Go-Ahead Ireland said it was “not currently exploring the option of non-EU drivers as recruitment and training, as well as retention levels, have improved significantly over the last number of months”.

Emmet Malone

Emmet Malone

Emmet Malone is Work Correspondent at The Irish Times

Shauna Bowers

Shauna Bowers

Shauna Bowers is Health Correspondent of The Irish Times