An agreement between the coalition and the Regional Independent Group (RIG), has secured enough support to end the eviction ban. The Sinn Fein motion to extend the moratorium was supported by parties such as People Before Profit, Aontú, Labour and various Independents.
The Regional Independent Group, established in 2020 which consists of 9 Independent TD’s, insisted on 8 amendments along with their full implementation in order to fully support the Government’s counter motion. The coalition has agreed to 5 of these amendments which is what possibly swayed the final vote. The conclusion was 83 Votes to 68 in favour of the coalition, meaning the eviction ban will be lifted on the 31st March. As a consequence of losing the vote yesterday, the Labour Party plan to hold a vote of no confidence in the Government on March 29th.
So, what does this mean for people as the end of the month approaches? Here are some of the amendments from the RIG that were agreed upon by the Government;
- Phasing out the ban: The Government intend to implement a scheme for local authorities or housing bodies to enable them to purchase a tenant’s home and rent it back to them. In addition, tenants may have first refusal to buy the property they are currently renting, if the landlord makes the decision to the sell. However, there is still no concrete timeline for implementing this scheme.
- The Fair Deal Scheme: Nursing home residents will soon be able to keep 100% of their income from renting out their family home while living in care. Currently, nursing home residents are required to allocate 40% of their rental income towards their cost of care.
- The Rent-A-Room Scheme: This relief scheme will now be extended to people receiving social welfare payments as well as local authority tenants. This will ensure that these tenants will still be eligible for supplementary benefits such as medical cards.
- The Croí Cónaithe Scheme: First -time buyers and other owner-occupiers, willing to refurbish derelict and vacant homes, have been eligible for grants on properties that were built before 1993. This will now be extended to include properties built before 2007 and the Government also plan to increase the rates.
- Tax Concessions for Landlords and Renters: The Government plan to review tax breaks, particularly for small landlords, to help retain their position in the housing market. The current rent tax credit (valued at up to €500 per renter per year) may also be increased and a significant Budget 2024 package for renters and landlords will be granted.
We will be paying close attention to the implementation of these plans but are concerned that the number of homeless people and families will see a dramatic rise after March 31st. If you or someone you know will be affected by the lifting of the eviction ban, you may be able to get some advice from Citizens Information or Threshold. We would also encourage you to write to your local TD where possible.