18:22 Friday, 27 March 2020
The Lift spoke to a representative of the housing charity Threshold about a number of issues that may be affecting renters during the pandemic.
As many people face a loss of income because of the Covid 19 pandemic, one of their worries is likely to be how they will pay their rent.
The Lift spoke to Karina Timothy, the Western Regional Services Manager with the housing charity Threshold, to get some advice for people affected.
Karina highlighted how the emergency legislation passed by the Dáil and Seanad includes a rent freeze and a ban on evictions:
“They’re going to be in for the emergency period, which at this point in time is three months, and the legislation allowing for that period could be extended. It all depends on how we get on with dealing with COVID-19. The main thing is that evictions cannot happen during that period and rents can’t increase during that period.”
Loss of income
Karina outlined two main pieces of advice for renters facing a loss of income:
“The first thing is they need to contact the landlord, they need to talk to their landlord and explain what’s going on and try and come to some form of agreement – possibly seek a rent reduction for the period. The second thing is they need to find out are they eligible for social housing support, for rent supplements, which could help them pay rent during this period.”
Third-level students in private accommodation
Some students may have already paid for accommodation in which they can no longer live because of the pandemic. Karina acknowledged that unfortunately, getting money back may be problematic:
“To the best of my knowledge at this point in time, the COVID crisis doesn’t really change anything, unfortunately, for students in these type of scenarios. Essentially, you’ve entered into an agreement, you’ve entered into a contract to stay for X period of time and if you break that contract, if you’ve paid rent, rent in advance, the landlord is under no obligation to return the rent paid in advance.”
However Karina pointed out that, again, communication could be key in a situation like this:
“We would ask students to contact the accommodation provider, the landlord, whoever it may be, and appeal to them and try and come to some form of an agreement or some kind of negotiation.”
Karina highlighted that it might be easier for students who were living in college-owned accommodation:
“If the accommodation is owned by the college, and if the students have been instructed to leave by the college, I would imagine that the college will have some provision in place where money would be refunded. I’d imagine that would be the case, because it’s the college that are terminating the tenancy as opposed to the tenant.”
You can find out more about Threshold’s services and get in touch with the charity here.
Threshold’s main number is 1800 454 454 (9am to 9pm) and it has also set up a special line for people affected by loss of income – 1800 77 88 99 (9am to 5pm).
You can also listen back to the full interview with Karina here: