Sean Defoe
Sean Defoe

07.03 9 Jun 2021


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Cabinet ministers will discuss new laws to ban landlords from charging large, upfront payments to secure accommodation.

The bill will also give students the option to pay for campus accommodation in monthly installments rather than lump sums.

Ministers will consider a number of housing proposals this morning.

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A rent protection bill will ban landlords asking for more than a deposit and a maximum of two months' rent in advance when taking on tenants.

It will also mean those paying for student specific accommodation will not have to pay large lump sums at the start of a semester if they choose not to, but will be able to pay monthly instead.

Last week Minister for Higher Education Simon Harris said rules around upfront rents for purpose built student accommodation were to be changed.

He said proposals would be brought to Cabinet to change the rules, which he branded as 'ridiculous'.

"I must say I find it utterly unacceptable that students are asked to pay out many months of rent in advance.

"Myself and the Minister for Housing will be bringing proposals to Cabinet this month to make sure that a student only has to pay one months' rent at a time.

"Not this ridiculous scenario, where for purpose built student accommodation they could be asked to fork out three, four, five months - or their whole year - which can be a huge upfront cost.

"So I'm going to change that, that if you're going to purpose built student accommodation that you'd only have to pay one months' rent.

"I think that's something that might help many families across our country," Minister Harris told The Pat Kenny Show.

The bill will also extend the emergency ban on evictions and rent increases for people experiencing COVID-19 related difficuties.

The protections are being extended until December for those who make a declaration that they are financially hit by COVID or in arrears as a result of virus-related problems.

A separate bill will allow city and county councils to extend the life of their existing development plans or granted planning permissions by 12 months.

It is also understood Tánaiste Leo Varadkar will seek Cabinet approval for legislation to give all workers the right to paid sick leave.

Around half of employers do not provide sick pay, and the minimum standard scheme is expected to be phased in over three or four years from 2022 onwards.

The head of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) has previously said that the lack of statutory sick pay is one of the most glaring examples of failings exposed by the pandemic.

Patricia King told the Oireachtas in December: "Sick pay is at the employer’s discretion to include in a contract of employment.

"As a result, hundreds of thousands of workers mainly in private sector jobs, including many essential workers, are not covered for sick pay and face being forced out of financial necessity to continue to work unwell or to rely on social protection. Illness Benefit is onerous to access and inadequate for most workers’ needs."

Almost all EU member states require employers to provide a minimum period of paid sick leave to their workers.

Additional reporting: Jack Quann

Main image: Composite image shows Euro bills and a gated apartment complex. Picture by: Image by Thanks for your Like • donations welcome and F. Muhammad from Pixabay 

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