There has been a significant increase in the number of people defying eviction notices over the past year.

New figures show an increase of almost 25% in referrals for 'over-holding' with the Residential Tenancies Board.

If a tenant fails to leave a property after receiving a notice of termination a landlord can complain to the RTB.

In 2016 there were 553 such cases.

To the end of November last year the RTB had received 688 referrals, representing an increase of almost 25%.

Margaret McCormack of the Irish Property Owners Association said it is a major issue for landlords.

"The length of time it takes to get a person out of a property is causing huge problems, particularly when they are over-holding and not paying the rent.

"That can be enough to leave a landlord in trouble with their own banks and have a property repossessed."

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A number of TDs have advised constituents to ignore termination notices if there is nowhere else to go.

Dún Laoghaire TD Richard Boyd Barrett said tenants are left with no option.

"In almost all cases tenants don't want to over-hold and stay on but they can't find anywhere else. If the choice is emergency accommodation or homelessness, what choice do people have?

"For huge numbers of people they can find nowhere and in that situation I would strongly advise them to stay where they are for as long as they can," said Mr Barrett.