Landlords’ eviction rights could be curbed following Oireachtas report

The new review also calls for a constitutional right to housing to be considered as a 'matter of urgency'

Tenants facing mass eviction following sale of the houses at 32 and 34 Elgin Road in Ballsbridge, Dublin, in June. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Tenants facing mass eviction following sale of the houses at 32 and 34 Elgin Road in Ballsbridge, Dublin, in June. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

 

Landlords could lose the automatic right to evict tenants when selling their property if the recommendations of an Oireachtas report to be published on Thursday are implemented.

A recommendation that the measure be “actively considered” is among 14 contained in the report on family and child homelessness from the 11-member Oireachtas committee on housing.

It recommends, “in order to reduce the flow of families into homelessness, restricting the right of landlords to issue vacant possession notices to quit when selling their property be actively considered”.

It says the use of one-night-only accommodation – whereby families may stay in emergency accommodation only from 8pm until the following morning and then must go somewhere else for that night – and of “self-accommodation”, whereby families must source their own emergency accommodation, must stop.

The committee heard of “detrimental effects that stays in emergency accommodation can have on families and child development” and calls for legal time limits on this. In Scotland, for instance, the time limit is seven days, while in England it is six weeks.

Children’s rights

Legislation is necessary to ensure children’s best interests are central to homeless policies, the committee says.

It quotes testimony from the Children’s Rights Alliance: “It is not right that when local authorities decide where families with children are accommodated, they do not have to take the children’s best interests into account.”

Among other recommendations, the report says consideration should be given to mandating the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) to inspect and monitor all homeless accommodation; an independent evaluation of the suitability of all family emergency accommodation, including hubs, for families, and statutory minimum standards for all family hubs should be drawn up and implemented.

It calls on the Oireachtas committee on finance and public expenditure to consider whether a constitutional right to housing could be enshrined “as a matter of urgency”.

A legally enforceable right to a minimum “floor” of suitable accommodation has been sought by numerous groups, including the Ombudsman for Children, Focus Ireland and Threshold.