Landlords – New Notice Periods to be Aware of

Although this June weather may not be what we had all expected, something you can always rely on us here at EcovisDCA to continue to bring you information which is vital to your business and financial lifestyle. This week we will be continuing in our series of posts detailing the new changes to rental legislation recently announced and put into place. Legislation can often be a bit of a minefield and with so many changes to the rental sector, we want to ensure that our clients and friends are well informed. This week we will be focusing on the new notice periods which have been put in place for landlords as well as the new introduction of remedial notices.

As of June 4th, 2019, the notice periods that a landlord must provide to a tenant when serving a notice of termination have been extended. It is vital that all landlords, regardless of their experience levels or how long they have been renting should keep a record of the below and familiarise themselves with these new requirements as any failure to serve the correct notice can result in the notice being rendered invalid. Changes can be agreed between both tenant and landlord, but this can only be done once the official termination letter with the appropriate notice period has been served. Below is a list of the new notice period requirements which will now be dependent on the length of time the tenant has been renting the property.

Tenancy Duration:                                                               Notice Period:

Less than 6 Months                                                                28 Days

Between 6 Months and 1 Year                                               90 Days

Between 1 and 3 Years                                                           120 Days

Between 3 and 7 Years                                                           180 Days

Between 7 and 8 Years                                                           196 Days

8 Years or More                                                                      224 Days

It is advisable that Landlords keep a printed record of these new notice periods and make themselves aware of these changes to avoid any issues going forward.

Another major change in terms of termination notices is the introduction of remedial notices. As of June 4th, 2019. This notice has been introduced to assist both landlord and tenant as an original notice served to fix the defect identified by the Tribunal can now be remedied by the issuing of a new remedial notice. Following a case lodged with the RTB, if deemed acceptable by the decision maker, either the tenant or landlord may have 28 days in which to serve a remedial notice. If the correct notice period was given, 28 days additionally may be served under the remedial notice, whilst if the incorrect period was given the new notice period will be 28 days in addition to the number of days the given notice period was short.

We hope that this series of posts is of assistance to you. As always, should you have any concerns of queries on any financial or business matters, please don’t hesitate to contact us here at EcovisDCA where we are always happy to assist.

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DCA PARTNERSDECLAN DOLAN & EAMONN GARVEY

Funding Reluctance from SMEs

As you will no doubt know by now, we are massive supporters of Irish Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). These small and often unsung heroes of the Irish business world form the backbone of Irish business and make up more than half of all Irish businesses. As such, we have long been supporters of these businesses and championed their successes. In recent months we have spoken about funding opportunities available to these forms of business as well as the ways in which they can be protected and encouraged to grow.

The term Brexit is one which has been utilised so much in recent months that it has almost lost all meaning entirely. Terms like “hard Brexit” strike fear into the hearts of many Irish businesses who have dealings with the UK, and the constant shifting of deadlines and back and forth makes it difficult for businesses to implement sufficient safeguards for their businesses.

Reports this week suggest that Irish SMEs are becoming somewhat reluctant to borrow at present which may show a level of wariness in the looming shadow of uncertainty that is Brexit at present. The Strategic Banking Corporation (SCBI) was started in 2014 in others to allow access to credit for SMEs and functioned by channelling credit through other avenues. This has often been a popular choice for SMEs seeking to fund their business activities, but in the last year we have seen a major slump in uptake on this funding which even an additional Brexit loan to the scheme couldn’t fix. Figures show that 2018 saw only approximately a third of the funding taken up as was accessed in 2017. This shows that in the current climate, Irish SMEs are becoming increasingly reluctant to take their chances on accessing funding.

The SCBI themselves have said of the issues:

“The modest deployment in the nine months to end-December 2018 is a clear reflection of SMEs remaining reluctant to invest in an environment of increased uncertainty and risk as Brexit approaches.”

As things stand we remain almost none the wiser on how the Brexit issue will play out and as always, we advise having a plan in place and safeguarding your business as much as possible in advance. The current advice remains that old Irish refrain that fell from the lips of all parents at one point or another: “Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.” In this way, your business will be protected against all eventualities and in the best position possible to flourish in the face of challenge and adversity in the current uncertain climate.

Should you have any concerns or queries on any business or financial matters, please don’t hesitate to contact us here at EcovisDCA where we will be happy to help in any way possible.

 

 

The Challenges Facing Landlords

Tenancy Terminator Will be Back

We have spoken numerous times in the past about the many challenges facing the housing situation in Ireland at present. From increasing rental and purchase costs, to more stringent rules and regulations, it has undoubtedly become more and more difficult to access appropriate housing in Ireland in recent years. Something we have not touched on quite as much however, are the challenges facing Landlords in these modern times. Changing rental legislation has a direct and serious effect on these forms of business owners, and with new legislation having come into effect as recently as May 31st, there may be a lot to that Landlords may not be aware of, so we have decided to dedicate the coming weeks to the unpacking of this new information.

The Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 2019 was officially signed into law on May 31st 2019 and introduced many significant changes to the rental sector which have already come into effect, as well as others which will follow over the coming months.

Termination Notice Changes (4th June 2019):

Under new legislation there will now be new obligations for landlords if they end a tenancy for the purposes of sale, a family member living in the property, change of use or renovations. In the event of the property being used to house family, the landlord must offer the property back to the tenant for a period of 12 months if it becomes vacant again, a change from the previous requirement of 6 months.

Selling:

Similarly, should a property be for sale, not sell and become vacant again the period is increased to 12 months that it must be offered back to the tenant if vacant. A landlord now has 9 months from the termination date to sell the property. A statutory notice of intent to sell will also be required.

Renovations:

There will also be more stringent rules in place for notice of renovations and the landlord must provide further information on the notice of termination of the tenancy including:

  • Planning permission if required.
  • Contractor details.
  • Start date and duration of the works.
  • Renovations cannot proceed while the dwelling is occupied.
  • The property must now also be offered back to the original tenant on completion of the work.

Change of Use:

In the event of a landlord wishing to change the use of a property for example from residential to commercial the notice of termination must include the following:

  • A copy of planning permission (if required).
  • A statement of the new intended use.
  • Details of work to be carried out.
  • The name and details of the contractor.
  • Dates and duration of the works.

Once again, the landlord is also required to offer the property back to the original tenant if it becomes available for rent again.

We hope that this information is of use to you, and we will continue this series of posts over the coming weeks in order to ensure that any of our clients and friends in the rental sector are fully informed of these changes. Should you have any queries or concerns on any business or financial matters, please don’t hesitate to contact us here at EcovisDCA, where we are always happy to help.

Planning Your Best Exit Strategy

We have discussed in the past, the importance of having a long-term plan for your business, particularly for when you are no longer in a position to run the company yourself. The importance of an exit strategy or long-term plan can not be overstated for businesses of all sizes, particularly small and medium enterprises (SMEs). It is as always advisable to stay abreast of current issues and changes that may affect the long and short term plans you have in mind for your business and in this vein, there has been some cause for concern in recent days regarding ways that taxation could inhibit future planning.

A new report issued by PwC this week has stated that current tax rules which hit the transfer of family businesses are putting both jobs and companies at large in danger. These rules make options incredibly limited for business owners as they limit owners passing on their business to family members while they are living. Some anomalies to the system in this respect mean that the new business owner could find themselves incurring high tax costs that would potentially place additional pressures on the business and put it at risk.

PwC have given some suggestions on changes they would like implemented in the next budget to protect business owners and entrepreneurs in the event of passing their business on while still living. One such suggestion is the removal of the current cap of €3million on the value of business assets which can benefit from Retirement Relief. There is also calls for the Entrepreneurial Relief Capital Gains Tax threshold to be reduced to allow further relief to these businesses as well as increasing the lifetime limit applicable and reducing current restrictions which may exclude many. It has also been suggested that tax relief options could be made available.

Consultation with the Government for this process is ongoing and submissions will close on May 24th and there are hopes that there will be changes announced in the next Budget to combat this issue and make the family handover of businesses a smoother and more profitable process. The transition of a business is inevitably a stressful and concerning time, so any changes that can be of benefit and ensure the longevity of an existing healthy business should certainly be embraced.

Should you have any queries or concerns on any business or financial matters, please do not hesitate to contact us here at EcovisDCA where we are always happy to help you and your business.

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DCA PARTNERSDECLAN DOLAN & EAMONN GARVEY

Revenue Commissioners New Debt Management System (DMS)

Onward, to the Future

The past number of months have been a time of increasing change for Irish businesses. From large scale changes to payroll systems to the clamping down of Revenue on all forms of tax evasion and tax fraud. These have been major changes to the ways in which Irish companies do business day-to-day and are hoped to be a solution to some long-term issues facing Irish business life, as it is hoped it will all lead to smoother business operations and less issues facing the Irish tax system.

The season of change continues onwards as it was recently announced that The Revenue Commissioners were set to release a new system for debt management, one which will be more technologically advanced than previous iterations and which will assist them in chasing down more unpaid tax, particularly in the sector of SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises).

Revenue’s new system entitled DMS (Debt Management Services) was launched just recently and promises to utilise high-tech means to target and deal with a wider range of tax payer. Whilst this may seem like a frightening prospect for SMEs, it is in fact a positive step towards ensuring that all Irish businesses are compliant, and that smaller business need not suffer the consequences of the failures of their larger brethren. The system will be able to target businesses and individuals who may previously have been too expensive to identify and pursue.

A spokesperson for Revenue has stated of the new DMS system that it will:

“Deliver significant increased capacity to manage and support compliance and tackle non-compliance” and will “enable Revenue to review customers with lower turnarounds on a more regular basis”.

So, whilst this means that SME’s will of course naturally fall under the Revenue microscope more often than previous, it is a step in the right direction for the future of business in Ireland, as it is set to join the Payroll Modernisation system in making it easier and more transparent for businesses to submit documentation and queries as the spokes person went on to say:

“The new system is fully online, allowing documentation to be uploaded electronically. It gives customers greater flexibility to manage their payment schedule and make certain alterations to suit their circumstances.

We as always advise to ensure that all your documentation and tax files are in order well ahead of time to ensure that you do not face further issues going forward. Should you have any queries or concerns, our doors are always open here at EcovisDCA.

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DCA PARTNERSDECLAN DOLAN & EAMONN GARVEY

Pensions – it really is a case of Fail to Prepare…

Something we are told from a very young age is that it is never too early to start planning for the future. As true as this may be it is something that falls largely on deaf young ears as we move on with our lives without thinking about that distant future of our elders. As you progress in your working life, this statement becomes increasingly true as no matter what stage of your career you are currently at, it is vital to plan for a future in which you will no longer be earning.

Recent reports show that the majority or workers are not saving towards a pension for their futures. As we have discussed previously, the cost of living, renting and buying property continues to grow so it should come as no surprise that many workers find themselves unable to set aside money for distant days ahead as wallets get increasingly light. There has been a lot of speculation recently that we may be heading towards a time-bomb in terms of pensions, so the news that only 47% of workers are contributing to a pension only compounds this fear and places the future of the State pension in question.

There have been discussions that the Government is to roll out a mandatory scheme for pensions by 2022, but this still leaves a period of 3 years during which workers could take matters into their own hands and begin making contributions. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it appears that the worst uptake in pension contributions is among younger workers, who again are most likely to be stuck in the rental trap at present. Social Policy Officer with The Irish Congress of Trade Unions, Laura Bambrick has said that too little is being done to encourage lower- and middle-income workers to contribute.

“Tax relief has failed as a policy instrument for encouraging low and middle-income earners to save enough towards a financially secure retirement, and there is no legal obligation on an employer to provide or contribute to a pension scheme for employees.”

Funding issues for State Pensions are likely to become an increasing concern for the future if pension contributions don’t soon become a standard, and with many employers also not making any contributions for their employees, something likely must change and urgently.

If you are interested in beginning your own pensions journey, here are some tips from us.

Calculate:

As with any budgeting system, it is essential to first work out how much you need to be setting aside. There are a great many online calculators that can assist with this. It is also important to consider your own currently monthly budget.

Shop Around:

There are so many options to choose from that this can be daunting but take the opportunity to speak to some advisers and ensure that you find the right pension plan for you.

Speak with your Employer:

It is possible that your employer may be willing to match your contributions or make some contribution for you, it is important to find out if this is a possibility in your company.

Tax:

If there are tax breaks available, be sure to make use of them.

Save:

There are many small ways to make weekly savings, implementing these may mean that your pension contributions do not leave such a gaping hole in your pocket.

Should you have any concerns or queries on any business or financial matters, please don’t hesitate to contact us here at EcovisDCA where we are always happy to help.

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DCA PARTNERSDECLAN DOLAN & EAMONN GARVEY

Enterprise Tax Relief & Grants

Entrepreneurs exist in a section of Irish business that is often overlooked when it comes to grants, relief and assistance. It is an area that is prized and valued in terms of training initiatives, but often forgotten about when it comes to actioning. Entrepreneurship remains the riskiest sector of Worldwide business, but particularly in Ireland which is quite a small pond for any business-savvy fish to set up shop in. As we all know, SMEs form a massive part of all Irish businesses, and we have spoken recently about the ways in which increased support is being made available to these businesses, so this naturally begs the question as to why the same isn’t being extended to entrepreneurs who may be poised to become the next big names in SME or even large-scale enterprises.

The chorus of voices crying out for change and support in the entrepreneurship sector has increased exponentially in recent months. This call for change has begun to spread to state agencies with Enterprise Ireland becoming involved and in February, divisional manager of the high-potential start-up unit, Joe Healy went as far as to call entrepreneurs “The real heroes of the Irish economy who deserve recognition and attention”.

Mr Healy also revealed that Enterprise Ireland had invested €23million in start-ups in 2018, including many of the high-potential start-ups and expressed his belief that there should be increased support and recognition for entrepreneurial risk-takers as they are ambition, resilient and innovative, which should all be highly prized in the business world. Healy also expressed his desire that this support encourage more female entrepreneurs to take the lead in Ireland going forward as he has seen an increase in the number of female entrepreneurs in the last 2 years.

While there are currently no large-scale plans for governmental support of entrepreneurs, the government have been repeatedly called upon to overhaul the Capital Gains Tax system and the Employment Incentive and Investment Scheme for entrepreneurial candidates. With the addition of a state funded body like Enterprise Ireland adding their voices to the cry for change it is hoped that we may soon see more steps in the right direction. As Healy stated:

“There are still challenges around retaining and attracting talent, and we need to ensure that the tax system supports and encourages risk-takers […] Not only changes to reward the real heroes of the economy but the tax system must be internationally competitive […] The taxation environment is critically important for starting and scaling companies. It is a key factor in the overall competitiveness in Ireland […] There is a need for an entrepreneurs’ relief scheme to reflect the risks of setting up a business, and a share options scheme to reward shares.”

Perhaps we may soon see Irish entrepreneurs being capable of entering the worldwide business market in a more competitive manner. In times of financial recovery such as these “risk” can often seem like a dirty and dangerous word, but this is perhaps exactly the right time to reward innovators and risk takers.

Should you have any concerns or queries on any business or financial matters, please do not hesitate to contact us here at EcovisDCA where we are always happy to help.

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DCA PARTNERSDECLAN DOLAN & EAMONN GARVEY

In light of Brexit, is there an opportunity for more trade with China?

Trade and Trade Alike

As Brexit conversations continue to get increasingly unclear and Ireland’s standing remains uncertain it is important that focus shift onto Ireland’s business and trade strengths rather than solely where we may have difficulties following Brexit, particularly in the event of a ‘Hard Brexit’. In the past, year we have spoken about Irish optimism ahead of Brexit and the ways in which Irish businesses could ensure their continued strength and prosperity going forward onto uncertain terrain.

As China’s leader Xi Jinping continues his European Tour, one might expect that Ireland would not crop up in conversation or be worth much note at this time. It may seem like an odd comparison to discuss Irish trade and business in relation to Italy and China, with our small island seeming to pale in comparison to such trade giants and global superpowers, but you may be surprised to learn that Ireland in fact currently supplies more food to China than Italy, proving again the vitality and strength of our independent trade.

Whilst Italy has recently slipped into somewhat of a recession, and Ireland continues to grow following our own economic crisis, we are on more even footing than we may even realise. Discussions within this European Tour will hope to encourage more openly reciprocated trade routes between the European Union and China, into which Ireland is certain to factor. The attempt to create something of a modern day ‘silk road’ has been met with equal parts scepticism and fear as Italy sign on.

It seems that European leaders are now intent on creating a new bond with global giants such as China, and on securing the global status of the EU especially as talks continue for Brexit. The EU’s labelling of China as a “systemic rival” was met with displeasure as the EU begin to clamp down on any issues or threats, following the messy divorce that Brexit continues to be. It has been stated that the EU will no longer naively go along with any deals that do not benefit the greater good of the EU and will no longer allow access to the EU market when access is not reciprocated. This could open trade routes going forward and ensure the continued power of the EU globally.

Whilst Brexit continues to drag on and loom large, and we do not have a crystal ball into the future, it is good to know that Ireland is safe in the hands of its big sibling, the European Union.

As always here at EcovisDCA we are happy to reciprocate and welcome any questions or concerns you may have that we can assist with, we are grateful for your continued support and friendship.

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DCA PARTNERSDECLAN DOLAN & EAMONN GARVEY

Bank Holiday Payment Entitlements

Time Marches On

March is always a strange month, whilst January can seem endless and February spins by before you’ve even adjusted to writing the New Year on your documents, March somehow signals that more time has passed in the current year than we could have realised. One bonus that comes along with March for those of us working away on our fair green Isle is that it offers us our first little break in the year in the guise of parades and fairs celebrating our patron saint.

One thing to be aware of however is that occasionally, as was the case this year, the Public Holiday may not fall on the traditional Monday associated with a Bank Holiday. In this scenario there are a number of ways to tackle the change and we thought it prudent to give information on who may be entitled to Bank Holiday payment.

Contrary to popular opinion, there is not an automatic entitlement to the Monday following the 17th of March off, but it does usually suit business operations to proceed in this manner.

The entitlement for full-time employees is as follows:

  • A paid day off either on the public holiday, or the following Monday for those who work Mon-Fri when the public holiday falls outside of the standard.
  • An additional day of annual leave
  • An additional day’s pay in this pay round.
  • A paid day off within a month of the Public Holiday.

It is also not always widely known that the employee is entitled to ask which options apply to their circumstance 21 days before the Public Holiday, and should the employer fail to respond within 14 days of the holiday, the employee then becomes automatically entitled to take the Public Holiday as a paid day off. It is advised to communicate this to your employees well in advance in order to avoid confusion on either side.

The entitlement for part-time employees is as follows:

  • Employees who have not worked at least 40 hours in total in the 5 weeks prior to the Public Holiday to not meet the minimum requirement to avail of their Public Holiday entitlements.

The payment options for a Public Holiday are as follows:

  • If the employee works on the Public Holiday they are entitled to payment for that day worked, as well as an additional day’s pay equivalent to the last day worked prior to the holiday.
  • If an employee normally works the day that the Public Holiday falls on they are entitled to the day off and their normal day’s pay.
  • If an employee does not normally work on the day the Public Holiday falls and is not required to work on this date, they are entitled to one-fifth of their normal wage.
  • Employees on sickness and maternity leave will also have entitlement as though they worked on this day.

We hope that you all enjoyed the first Public Holiday of the year and that this information will be of use for those still to come. Should you have any queries or concerns on any business or financial matters, please don’t hesitate to contact us here at EcovisDCA, where we are always happy to help.

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DCA PARTNERSDECLAN DOLAN & EAMONN GARVEY

The Rescue & Restructuring Scheme

Financial Aid To Restructure & Survive

As you are all aware, we here at EcovisDCA are massive supporters of Irish SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises). We understand the importance of these types of companies, underpinning and creating a foundation for all Irish business. In general, we like to keep our clients and friends up to date on any issues that may negatively or positively affect these vital businesses. You may or may not have heard of the Rescue and Restructuring Scheme in Ireland. The scheme provides financial aid and State support to companies experiencing acute liquidity. The intention was that the scheme would offer assistance to those struggling companies who have the possibility of restructuring and continued survival in the business world.

The scheme was first introduced in November 2017, offering a fund of €10million to struggling Irish SMEs. In 2018, an extension to the scheme was approved and announced, with an additional €10million being made available to these businesses. The scheme was scheduled to run until 2020 and would offer support in form of loans repayable over a period of 18 months. The only exemptions to the scheme were those companies in the financial, coal and steel sectors.

The introduction of this scheme in 2017 and 2018’s subsequent extension and funds increase was already a massive boon to the Irish SME sector, offering some form of safety net in times of trouble. As we are all aware, financially speaking anything can happen in the economy and smaller businesses are usually the first to feel the negative effects, so this offer of €20million to survive Brexit woes for struggling SMEs was welcome news.

Further good news arrived on the horizon this month, with the announcement that the scheme would once again be extended with further funds being made available. Perhaps the whispers of terms like “hard Brexit” and “borders” may have had something to do with it, but on this occasion we see a massive increase as it was recently announced that The European Commission has agreed to increase the budget of the scheme by a whopping €180million to €200million.

We are delighted that the Government are taking the appropriate steps to assist in the safeguarding of these vital companies and their future in the eye of the Brexit hurricane, as it has long been known that Irish SMEs could be the most vulnerable in the event of Brexit causing trade and financial issues in Ireland. These additional funds show a willingness to create and support vulnerable businesses and create an ongoing contingency plan for these uncertain weeks and months ahead.

Should you have any queries on any business or financial matters, please don’t hesitate to contact us here at EcovisDCA where we are always happy to help.