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Know Your Rights December 3rd 2020

Know your rights: Rental protections during COVID-19          December 3, 2020

I lost my job because of COVID-19 and cannot pay my rent. Will I be evicted from my home?

No. If you are at risk of losing your rented accommodation because you cannot pay your rent due to COVID-19, you cannot be evicted and your rent cannot be increased until 11 January 2021 (under the Residential Tenancies and Valuation Act 2020). It is expected that these protections will be extended until 12 April 2021, but legislation is needed for this.

To benefit from the rent freeze and eviction ban, you must be at risk of losing your tenancy because of COVID-19 and you must be getting either:

  • Enhanced COVID-19 Illness Benefit or
  • Any social welfare payment or State support to help with loss of earnings caused by COVID-19 (including Rent Supplement, Supplementary Welfare Allowance and the wage subsidy schemes)

If you meet these requirements, you must fill in and sign a Self-Declaration Form and send it to both the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) and to your landlord. You should keep evidence of having sent the form. Then you can benefit from these protections. If you are already facing rent arrears, you should follow the RTB’s 8-step process to keep your tenancy.

You could also speak to your landlord and tell them that you are struggling to pay your rent. They may agree to reduce your rent until your situation improves. You should not stop paying rent completely. If you cannot pay the full amount of rent due, speak to your landlord or agent before you start paying a reduced amount.

Know your rights: Shopping online

I bought presents online during the Black Friday sales. Can I get a refund if I’m not happy with them when they arrive?

When you buy online from a seller based in Ireland or elsewhere in the EU, you have strong protections under consumer law. This is because you do not enter the contract in person and you cannot check the products before you buy.

Your rights are the same whether the item was bought at full price or on sale.

What are my cancellation rights?

You have 14 calendar days to change your mind without having to give a reason. This is known as the ‘cooling-off period’.

If you bought a product online your 14 day ‘cooling-off period’ starts when you get the product.

Does my right to cancel apply to all online purchases?

The cooling-off period does not apply to certain purchases. Examples are leisure services such as hotel bookings, car rental or concert tickets or if the product was made especially for you.

How do I cancel?

Before the end of your ‘cooling-off period’, let the seller know in writing that you want to cancel. You can do this by email or post, or by using the cancellation form provided by the seller.

You do not have to give a reason for cancellation, but you may have to pay for the cost of returning the goods.

When will I get my refund?

You must be refunded within 14 days of cancellation, including standard delivery costs. The seller may not process the refund until they have proof that you sent the goods back.

Brexit and buying online from a UK business

If you are buying online from a UK trader, your consumer rights remain the same during the transition period (until 31 December 2020). You should keep in mind that after the transition period those rights may change. You can find out more about shopping online on citizensinformation.ie.

During the COVID-19 pandemic you can contact your local Citizens Information Centre:

•          Bray CIC on 0761 07 6780 Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm

•          Email Bray CIC at bray@citinfo.ie – anytime

From July, a limited number of appointments are being made in Bray Citizens Information Centre

You can  find comprehensive integrated information online at citizensinformation.ie/covid19/ and you can get daily updates on what’s changed on Twitter at @citizensinfo. You can also get information and advice from:

  • The Citizens Information Phone Service: Call 0761 07 4000, Monday to Friday,
    9am – 8pm
  • Our national call back service: Visit citizensinformation.ie/callback to request a phone call from an information officer

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