Councillor Eoin Tennyson
Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council is to set out its views on the appropriate period of notice landlords have to serve on tenants should they wish to end a tenancy agreement.
The private tenancies bill, brought forward by the Minister for the Department for Communities (DfC), Deirdre Hargey MLA, is currently making its way through the Assembly.
It contains a clause seeking to increase the notice to quit period a landlord is required to give a tenant to eight weeks for tenancies lasting for more than 12 months up to 10 years.
It also amends the notice to quit a tenant has to give a landlord to four weeks if the tenancy has not been in existence for more than 10 years and 12 weeks if it has been for more than 10 years.
With a consultation response on these proposed changes sought by DfC, the council’s environmental services committee discussed the proposals and Alliance Party councillor, Eoin Tennyson said the local authority should make the case for a 12-week period for the notice to quit.
He also stated a landlord’s intention to sell the property should not be a reason for exemption from this policy.
“I welcome the progress this proposed legislation is making in terms of tenants right and the security of tenure,” said Cllr Tennyson.
“I know Council has said it does not agree with the view it would be acceptable to have different periods of notice for tenants and landlords.
“However, if a landlord serves notice on a tenant, I believe a tenant has greater barriers to finding other suitable, affordable accommodation.
“It is much more suitable to have a slighter shorter period of notice that a tenant can serve on landlord and I would be inclined to agree with the department on this issue.”
He continued: “In terms of the exemptions, we have suggested a landlord selling a property might be a relevant exemption but I think that is self defeating.
“Even if the landlord intends to sell the property, I think eight weeks is still a reasonable time period for the notice to quit.
“They are pretty small amendments and I would just like to see them included in our response.
“In essence, I would say 12 weeks should be the required amount of time for the notice to quit. It is appropriate to have other exemptions but the potential sale of the property defeats the purpose of the notice period, I think.”
Councillor Ciaran Toman said he shared Cllr Tennyson’s concerns with regards to the potential sale of a property being used as an exemption to the notice to quit legislation.
“I have come across a lot of individuals and families where landlords are using the excuse of selling the property to get out of the rental agreement and then it has gone back on rental market for a higher fee,” he said.
“I would be inclined to keep it as it is at present”.
Cllr Tennyson’s proposed amendments to the council’s consultation response were seconded by Councillor Thomas Larkham and the committee approved the proposal.