A change allowing indefinite rental tenancies will be in law by the end of the year, the Housing Minister says.
Darragh O'Brien said tenants will also need to be offered the property back on 'the same terms' if they're forced to leave for a major refurbishment.
Indefinite tenancies will then come into force six months after the new legislation is signed off.
Once fully implemented, it will mean renters in situ for six months or more will have the right to unlimited duration in a rental property.
Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien told The Pat Kenny Show it will mean a major change for tenants.
He said: “Currently what happens is that once a tenant attains those rights - which gives them a much stronger security of tenure - that at six years it’s reviewed and it’s up to the landlord if that will be reviewed.
“I’ve removed that, so automatically as a tenant you would retain that right."
In terms of major refurbishments, he explained: "If that happens on a property, that same tenant - should that tenant have to leave - would have to be offered that property back.
“That’s currently in law but is not, in my view, properly enforced. We did have issues in the past… where refurbishments were done, tenants were put out, but the refurbishment wasn’t as extensive as it should be.
“We’re going to bring in a mechanism to make sure through the RTB that they’re advised the tenant must be offered the property back on the same terms.”
Minister O'Brien said he’s “acutely aware” the new rules need to be balanced with the rights of property owners.
However, he said he’s confident the current measures are “very balanced”
He said all properties should be of a good standard, and a major investment such as a refurbishment is a landlord investing in their own asset.
The minister observed: “If it’s a question on the odd occasion where a tenant has to be asked to leave a property for a major refurbishment to happen, that tenant has to be offered the property back.
“If a tenant were to damage or trash a property, that would be an exception to the protections… that is a reason to terminate the tenancy.”
He said someone who owns a property will still be able to sell it, and current grounds for terminating a tenancy - such as the sale of a property or a landlord needing the property for family use - will remain the same.
However, Minister O’Brien said the changes mean tenants who have built up long-term tenancy rights will now have their rights extended beyond year six.