Committee publishes report on Private Tenancies Bill | Newry Times

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editor@newrytimes.com
Wednesday, February 9th, 2022
Community, Politics

The Assembly’s Communities Committee has published its report on the Private Tenancies Bill, which aims to make the private rented sector a safer and more secure housing option for more households. 

 

Committee publishes report on Private Tenancies Bill - Newry Times - newry news headlines

 

Speaking after the publication of the report the Committee Chairperson, Paula Bradley MLA, says, “The Committee has been vocal from the outset that although we welcome all efforts to support and protect private tenants better, we would have preferred to see a much more ambitious Bill.

 

 

“However, as many of our stakeholders have underlined, this legislation is an important and necessary first step.

“We also welcome a stipulation by the Minister for Communities that she intends this Bill to be followed up by a wider and longer-term programme of reform for the sector.

“The Committee is therefore generally supportive of the key principles of the Bill, specifically, the proposals to restrict rental increases to once in any 12-month period, as well as a limit on tenancy deposit amounts.

Ms Bradley continues, “We were disappointed, however, when mid-way through our examination of the Bill, the Minister decided to consult further on proposals in the Bill to extend the ‘Notice to Quit’ periods provided to tenants.

 

 

“This highly unusual step, although it may have a positive outcome, hampered our deliberations in this area, as we were unable to adequately report on this crucial element of the legislation.

“The Committee has asked for an analysis of the consultation’s findings before the Bill moves to his next stage. 

“Following evidence from stakeholders that some landlords insist on ‘cash only’ payments, we proposed that additional legislative protection should be included in the Bill to provide tenants with a choice of payment methods. 

“We are pleased that the Minister is taking forward an amendment to include a new clause in the Bill which will allow for regulations on this issue to be made following the outcome of a public consultation.”

Ms Bradley adds, “While we realise that this Bill will not resolve all of the issues within the private rental sector, we believe that if passed, it will significantly enhance current regulations and provide greater interim protection for private renters.

 

 

“It is a positive first step, and we are hopeful that it provides the framework for a more holistic approach towards future reform of the sector.” 

 


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