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Committee Publishes Report on Private Tenancies Bill

Session: Session currently unavailable

Date: 02 February 2022

Reference: CFC 02/21/22

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. 

Speaking after publication of the report the Committee Chairperson, Paula Bradley MLA, said: “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 continued: “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 concluded: “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.” 

 

ENDS

Notes to Editor:

  • The full Committee Report on the Private Tenancies Bill can be accessed here:

 

The Committee for Communities membership is:

Paula Bradley MLA (Chairperson)

Kellie Armstrong MLA (Deputy Chairperson)

Andy Allen MLA

Stephen Dunne MLA

Mark H Durkan MLA

Ciara Ferguson MLA

Paul Frew MLA

Áine Murphy MLA

Aisling Reilly MLA

 

Media enquiries to:
Sinead Murphy
Deputy Communications Officer
Northern Ireland Assembly
Phone: 028 9052 5938       Mobile: 078 998 64368

Email: sinead.murphy@niassembly.gov.uk

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