Northern Ireland’s Department for Communities is extending the regulations for the period of notice a landlord must give a tenant before a possession claim is made to court.
The Private Tenancies (Coronavirus Modifications) Act - introduced in Northern Ireland at the start of the pandemic - obliges landlords to give tenants a 12-week notice to quit period before seeking a court order to begin proceedings to evict.
This is now to be extended to May 4 2022.
The 12-week notice period in relation to all tenancies, which had been due to return to their pre-COVID position after September 30 remains in place.
The position for notice periods where the ground for giving notice relates to anti-social behaviour or domestic violence also remains the same, as they have reverted to the pre-COVID position.
Propertymark recommends that agents, landlords, and tenants “continue to work together during this period to avoid the need for commencing or pursuing possession proceedings.”
Propertymark policy manager Daryl McIntosh says: “With very few local council areas suppressing the coronavirus and cases continuing to climb, it has come as no surprise the Executive intend to further the measures to protect tenants.
“However, it is not clear on what evidence the decision to extend the temporary legislation is based on, what the scale of the issues are, if any, and whether the extended notice periods are resolving problems.
“To maintain confidence between landlords and tenants, the Executive must frequently outline the requirements to continue with the extended notice periods and look to review the temporary regulations on a regular period.”
Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey says: “I have considered very carefully the balance between landlords’ interests as property owners and the protection of those in need during this pandemic to ensure people are not facing eviction in this challenging time.
“Whilst it is clear that the overall situation is greatly improved from the beginning of the pandemic, there is still some way to go. I’m mindful of the economic disruption which may emerge as other protections unwind.”