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Northern Ireland extension on notice to quit period

Wednesday 29 April 2020

The Private Tenancies (Coronavirus Modifications) Bill was introduced into the Assembly 21 April 2020 and passed its final stage yesterday (28 April).

The Northern Ireland Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey MLA has thanked Assembly members for swiftly passing legislation to strengthen protection to private renters during the COVID-19 crisis.

This will mean that landlords will be required to give tenants a 12-week notice to quit period, ensuring tenancies are protected throughout this time and will also reduce the movement of people between households, allowing shielding of vulnerable people, self-isolation, and social distancing in line with the Chief Medical Officer's recommendations.

In Northern Ireland, the private rented sector is the fastest-growing type of housing tenure, with around 18 per cent of the total housing stock and approximately 134,000 properties.

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It was necessary to introduce measures to help prevent households having to leave their homes. This legislation will protect private renters, securing their accommodation, allowing them to protect their health and reducing the movement of people. It will enable vulnerable people to shield, self-isolate and social distance.

Private renters continue to be a group facing significant concerns and anxiety during this period in particular due to loss of employment.

In these extraordinary times people who may temporarily struggle to pay their rent through no fault of their own, need certainty in the meantime that their homes are safe and that their landlords can't evict them.

This legislation will ensure that no renter in private accommodation will be forced out of their home during this difficult time. Landlords will now be required to give tenants 12 weeks' notice to quit before seeking a court order to begin proceedings to evict.

I would like to thank all the Assembly members and the Communities Committee for their support and help in getting this legislation through so quickly as well all the supporting officials in the Department and Assembly. Everyone has understood why it is urgent and gone above and beyond to prepare and process the Bill quickly. 

MINISTER DEIDRE HARGEY

The Private Tenancies (Coronavirus Modifications) Bill