The Chief Executive of housing charity Threshold says the Government will be judged on the robustness of legislation to protect private renters.

John-Mark McCafferty said many renters have lost their jobs, or seen their salaries severely reduced as a result of Covid-19, and to allow rents to increase again, over the short to medium term, would not be the right thing to do.

He said the private sector is home to over 300,000 households - many of them families - and this calls for substantial measures, that would have been seen as radical a number of months ago, to be put in place.

Mr McCafferty added that 12 years ago, a way was found to deal with mortgage arrears in order to keep people in the family home and similar efforts must be made now.

He called for a halt on any further rent increases, adding that there had been some rent increases over the last number of months.

He said he had sympathy in certain circumstances facing some landlords but he said that we are not in a normal situation and trying to find the best policy to deal with covid, across a range of sectors.

He said that Threshold accepts that extensions to moratoriums will not be permanent but that workable solutions are needed. 

Late yesterday a freeze on rents and a ban on evictions was extended until 1 August just hours ahead of an existing ban on evictions lapsing.

The measure buys the Government more time to introduce longer term measures aimed at protecting vulnerable tenants.

Announcing the extension yesterday, Minister for Housing Darragh O'Brien said he had introduced a short extension under existing emergency legislation, which was brought in to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic.

He said that this would give him time to bring forward "robust legislation" that will provide "real protection to tenants and property owners alike".

Mr O'Brien said the earlier rent freeze and eviction moratorium were brought in under emergency legislation covering all tenancies regardless of tenants circumstances.

He added: "It is well known that they could not be extended indefinitely so it is important we have strong legislation, which combines targeting those who are most vulnerable with longer term measures".

He said the new legislation would be brought before Cabinet on Thursday and would be in place before the Dáil rises for a summer break.

However, the Government's management of the ban has been criticised by the opposition.

Sinn Féin's housing spokesman Eoin Ó Broin said: "The Government's mishandling of this issue is adding to the enormous uncertainty currently faced by both renters and landlords."

Social Democrats TD Cian O'Callaghan said: "It is shambolic that the Government is making this announcement hours in advance of the current ban expiring."

People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett said: "It is just not acceptable that the Government has effectively allowed the eviction ban to lapse by not making the necessary announcement before today".