"Again, the landlords are the scapegoats" – Property association hits out at proposed eviction ban
Won't somebody please think of the landlords?
Calls for a temporary ban on evictions to be put in place as a difficult winter for the Irish public approaches have had cold water poured upon them by the Irish Property Owners Association.
Renewed focus has been placed upon a proposed eviction freeze in the wake of last month's Budget announcement, with Minister for Justice Helen McEntee set to seek advice from the Attorney General on whether or not such a ban may be introduced.
"We are going to do everything that we can to make sure that people are kept in their homes in so far as possible – we do have to look at the constitution, we do have to make sure that there isn't a challenge," McEntee told The Week in Politics on RTÉ.
In response, representatives for the Irish Property Owners Association [IOPA] have challenged the potential measure, arguing that eviction bans present a tough reality for landlords to contend with.
IOPA President Mary Conway told Virgin Media News that such a practice is "highly discriminatory against landlords" and that landlords are "not immune" to the current cost-of-living emergency.
"Many depend on their rental income to pay their mortgages, and other business expenses, while trying to make provisions for their families and pensions in the years to come," Conway added.
Speaking on RTÉ Morning Ireland on Monday (10 October), Conway insisted that the ban would be unconstitutional and that the IOPA is currently seeking legal advice on the matter.
"It's going to cost more landlords to leave the market," said Conway. "The reason that they are leaving is too much legislation and over-taxation. And really, there are already adequate protections in place for tenants at this point."
Conway used the example of having a tenant in situ for up to one year, the tenant must receive notice of 152 days in the event of termination of tenancy. If the tenant is in situ for over a year and up to seven years, the notice period is 180 days.
Put to Conway that a notice to quit is slightly different from an eviction notice, the IOPA President insisted that the two are the same. "It's a termination notice," she said. "The Government has to be seen to be doing something, and this is a knee-jerk reaction. Again, the landlords are the scapegoats."
Conway added that she hopes "the Government will talk to us" and see what supports may be available for both landlords and tenants.
"Is anybody going to sit down and talk to the landlords?" she asked. "We don't want to put people out of their homes, but landlords still need to make sure that they remain solvent."
Responding to a question regarding the ongoing homelessness crisis – "Presumably you don't want to add to those figures?" – Conway envisioned a bleak future for landlords, noting that should an eviction ban come to fruition, they are "not going to be in a position to pay for their mortgages, then the banks are going to rock up and people are going to be made homeless anyway."
JOE has reached out to the Irish Property Owners Association for comment.