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New report is wrong, rent controls needed now - Ellis

23 October, 2014 - by Dessie Ellis TD

Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Dessie Ellis TD has dismissed the new report commissioned by the government which calls for tax breaks for landlords rather than rent controls to protect tenants.

He made his comments following the publication of Rent Stability in the Private Rented Sector by DKM consultants.

Deputy Ellis continued;

"This report is another sop to landlords who have been shown to be making good profits off often substandard accommodation charging whatever rate they choose because they know people are desperate enough. The findings of this report that rent regulations would be worse for tenants flies in the face of the realities of the rental market and the experience of tenants at the moment.

“The report proposes tax breaks for landlords but this would only increase their profits and keep rents at the same rate. Rent rates are not currently inflated to unaffordable levels because landlords are taxed too high; they are inflated because of the shortage of housing and the desperation of those seeking it. Landlords are renting properties which are often overcrowded, damp, cold and under managed for astronomical rates, which are not sustainable given average incomes at present and the general cost of living. People have lost their homes due to rent increases while they continued to work a full time job.

“Recent Dublin City Council inspections found that 90 per cent of private accommodation inspected is not up to standard. The idea of giving landlords tax breaks to increase their profits further, on the hope they will invest in more housing, is clearly a bad idea.

“Rent controls will not solve all our problems but it will do a number of important things. It will stop unfair rent increases which are making people homeless. It will also foster a culture around renting in the long run, which makes it a more viable long term option which should push up standards. This will not work though, unless done in conjunction with major investment in social housing, to take the pressure off in the private market.

“The report does call for a code of conduct for landlords who are in arrears or rental properties being taken into receivership. Sinn Féin has been calling for this to be done for the last three years. A binding process whereby tenants are not left on the street because a landlord has failed to hold onto their property is needed.

“It is also shameful that so many properties are being held empty by banks who have repossessed them. We need to broaden the Mortgage to Rent scheme further to keep people in their homes.

“When a family working full time cannot afford to rent in the city they work it is clear that the rental market is not fit for purpose and regulation is essential. That must start with stabilising rents."

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