Ireland’s biggest landlords pledge to ‘protect’ tenants hit by Covid-19 crisis

Ires Reit and Kennedy Wilson among firms considering rent deferrals and rent freezes

Pat Farrell, chief executive of Irish Institutional Property, at his office in Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Pat Farrell, chief executive of Irish Institutional Property, at his office in Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

 

A body representing a number of the country’s biggest residential landlords including Ires Reit and Kennedy Wilson has committed to the introduction of a series of emergency measures to assist tenants having difficulty in meeting their rental payments during the Covid-19 crisis.

Following discussions with the Government, the newly established Irish Institutional Property (IIP), said the landlords it represented would take immediate action to support their tenants during the “acute phase” of the coronavirus pandemic.

Among the measures proposed by the IIP are the temporary suspension by its landlord members of notice to leave for those tenants experiencing short-term financial hardship as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak. The deferral of rent payments, the formulation of tailored payment plans, and the suspension of rent increases will also be introduced to ease the financial burden on affected tenants during the acute phase of the current crisis.

In order to avail of these special, temporary solutions, those tenants facing financial difficulties owing to the impact of coronavirus are being advised by the IIP to make contact with their respective landlords to discuss their situation.

A spokesman for the IIP said landlords would put in place telephone and online contact support for affected tenants to communicate details of the assistance available from Government and the sector.

Apart from committing to engage with those tenants now experiencing short-term financial hardship, the landlords’ lobby group said its members would also continue to provide accommodation for tenants who were currently in the process of moving, but who now wished to suspend their plans. The IIP’s members have also pledged to support the Government through the supply of “self-isolation” accommodation during the crisis.

Increase in cleaning

The IIP said its landlord members were already communicating with all their tenants to highlight the advice from the Government and the HSE on coronavirus. There has also been an increase in the levels of disinfecting and cleaning of apartment blocks under the ownership of IIP landlords.

Commenting on the emergency measures proposed by the institutional property sector, IIP chief executive, Pat Farrell, said: “We are very much aware that some tenants will experience financial difficulties and we want to reassure them that our members stand ready to offer practical support to impacted residential tenants during this difficult time.”

The commitment by the IIP’s landlord members to assist their respective tenant base comes as Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy prepares to introduce a temporary ban for all landlords on evictions for three months as part of a series of measures to protect renters during the coronavirus crisis.

He is also examining the introduction of a temporary ban on rent increases.