More than half of eviction notices ‘invalid’, says housing charity

Threshold warns thousands of households could enter homelessness unnecessarily from next month

More than half the eviction notices served on tenants supported by the housing charity Threshold are “invalid”, it has said.

The organisation said it is concerned thousands of households, particularly those more vulnerable, could enter homelessness unnecessarily from next month when the Government eviction ban is lifted, due to being unaware of their rights around notices to quit (NTQ).

“Unfortunately, this has been the case for quite some time,” a spokeswoman said. “Over half of notices of termination issued to Threshold are not valid and some tenants do leave tenancies when they do not have to.

“Many tenants in the past have exited despite receiving advice from Threshold [that their NTQ is invalid]. This can be due to fear of losing their deposit and not getting a reference from their landlord.


“There is certainly a concern, especially from the perspective of those who are not native to Ireland, are from vulnerable communities, or who are digitally excluded.”

The warnings come as one group of low-income tenants, comprising six households in a sub-divided house in Cabra, Co Dublin, face eviction in mid-May as their landlord is selling up.

More than half are from outside Ireland and have varying levels of digital literacy.

Of the two who spoke to The Irish Times, neither was aware their NTQs were invalid until one contacted Threshold.

Ronnie Keenan (55), a former security worker, had lived here for “almost 10 years” paying €713 a month for a flat. Despite being on Dublin City Council’s housing list for about the same time, he was unaware until this month he was entitled to the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP).

Suffering from severe lung disease, he is in receipt of disability allowance of €220 a week. He has been using savings to meet his bills for the past year which he says will run out “in a couple of months”.

He also did not know if he had a current lease until, with the assistance of an activist from the Catu (Community Action Tenants Union) group, he contacted the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) and found he had. It runs until “June/July”, he said.

He was served with an NTQ on October 24th, 2022, and told his tenancy would terminate 202 days later, on May 14th, 2023. Threshold said the notice is invalid as he is entitled to 224 days, and the tenancy cannot terminate before his current lease expires.

Ana Martinez (56), a healthcare worker, has lived in her flat for two years, paying €1,200 a month with HAP support. Her lease runs until late July.

She was served with the same NTQ, which Threshold says is “not valid”. It told her by email: “If the landlord wants you to leave the property, they will need to give you a new notice of termination with a new notice period of at least 180 days.”

Despite having established their NTQs can be challenged at the RTB, they fear having to leave in May regardless.

“The landlord says I have to be out on May 14th,” said Mr Keenan. “I honestly haven’t a clue what I’ll do. I have been looking online but because of my [illness] I can’t walk far. It has to be close to shops.”

Ms Martinez, who survived a serious stroke 11 years ago, spent three years in emergency accommodation before 2021.

“I was so relieved when I found this. Now, I am angry, frustrated. This is our lives. These are our homes. There is no place to go.”

Asked if she has faith in the Government to protect her and her neighbours from homelessness, she said: “I do not believe in politicians. They are not doing the right things. They are acting very bad. I won’t be back to the streets - that is my position. I worked hard to get well. I do not want to be in this stress.”

The Mayo-based landlord, when contacted by The Irish Times, said: “I would prefer not to take part in this conversation.”

Information on the rules around NTQs can be found here. Threshold said it would like to produce leaflets on tenants’ rights to distribute through libraries and community centres for the digitally excluded but it is not resourced to.

Kitty Holland

Kitty Holland

Kitty Holland is Social Affairs Correspondent of The Irish Times