The Minister for Housing has said the purpose of the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Bill is to improve the situation for tenants.

Eoghan Murphy was speaking in the Dáil this evening where the bill which is at report stage is being debated.

Mr Murphy said additional amendments put forward by Opposition parties cannot be accepted for a number of different reasons.

Some of the proposed amendments include deposits not exceeding one months' rent and changes to the grounds for termination by a landlord.

Minister Murphy said some of the measures being put forward would make it a lot worse for some people.

People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett said those in the business of being landlords needs to accept that they have an obligation to tenants.

He said if landlords do not like that they should not be landlords.

Deputy Barrett said amendments to the legislation were being made to try to help tenants in difficult situations.

He said radical measures need to be brought in to stem the tide of people into homelessness and the Government should declare an emergency situation.

Labour TD Jan O'Sullivan said that as long as there were no contracts of indefinite duration, people would feel they have to purchase their own home.

Threshold says bill does not go far enough

Housing charity Threshold has said the number of people approaching the organisation about tenancy terminations is continuing to rise.

It said the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Bill does not go far enough.

Threshold wants the bill to address current laws which allow landlords to evict tenants after six years without a reason.

Patricia (not her real name) and her three children have been living out of a suitcase after being evicted from the house they rented in Cork for nine years. 

Home is now a series of bed and breakfasts for the children - the eldest of whom is due to sit his Junior Cert. 

'Patricia' said: "It’s four weeks I'm homeless and I've been moved four times, it's very tiring mentally and its physically draining.

"I had to tell my children we were going homeless it took its toll on them. It’s very hard and they were worried about their dog, their friends and where we were going to be - it's just devastating."

'Patricia' was asked to leave her rented property under Section 34B of the Residential Tenancies Act, which allows landlords to evict tenants who have been living in a property for six years or more without giving a reason.

This will not change under the bill.

The proposed legislation addresses a numbers of areas, including changes to the criteria for rent pressure zones and giving the Residential Tenancies Board sanctioning powers.

Chief Executive of Threshold John Mark McCafferty has welcomed the bill, but he said it does not go far enough and must remove section 34B from the legislation.

"There are certain grounds in which you can end a tenancy, including selling, a family member moving in but another area is at a point in time where that tenancy is coming towards the end and that's a part four tenancy, so at the end of a four or six year tenancy a landlord can say I just want this tenancy to end.

"That is a huge uprooting for a family or an individual if through no fault of their own they are faced with Section 34B being applied by the landlord."

However, spokesperson for the Residential Landlords Association, Joe Doyle, said landlords need protection against indefinite tenancies and that removing section 34B would result in a reduction in the number of landlords.

In a statement, the Department of Housing said deleting Section 34B could undermine the Residential Tenancies Act 2004, which it said was build around security of tenure protection only applying for six years.

The statement said that while it is Government policy to move towards indefinite tenancies, this must be carefully worked out in terms of how any proposed changes would impact on property rights.

It said this could not be carried out by amending this current bill.