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Rent controls needed to stop growth of homeless - Ellis

11 December, 2014 - by Dessie Ellis TD

Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Dessie Ellis TD has called for the introduction of a system of rent control to regulate residential rents in order to stop tenants losing their homes and becoming homeless. He made his comments in response to comments by the Tánaiste today, that indicate the government is opposed to rent control, which has been a major part of the action plans put forward by campaigners against homelessness in recent weeks.

Deputy Ellis said;

"Demand for rental housing is very high and supply is very low but this does not excuse rent levels nearly 40% than they were 3 years ago. Too many landlords are taking advantage of desperate people who will forego essentials to keep a roof over their head. Many simply can't keep up though and have ended up being evicted and needing emergency accommodation.

“Rent Controls are needed to stabilise rent levels and to stop the hikes which are putting people out on the streets. We cannot allow a situation where people go hungry or cold in order to pay the rent.  The Tánaiste is ignoring the immediate severity of the problem. We need to protect existing tenancies and rent controls which limit increases during and between tenancies will help to do that. 

“She has claimed there are constitutional problems with rent control. I believe this is an excuse because she is politically opposed to regulating the private market. There was a constitutional ruling over 30 years ago but it was only based on one kind of rent control and I believe failed to properly consider the constitutional requirement that private property be regulated in the interest of "social justice" and "the common good". The Tánaiste must publish any legal advice she has on this.

“Rent Controls in conjunction with major investment in social housing is what is need to bring down rents and get people out of emergency accommodation. The consequence of failing to act is that we will see more people go homeless in the future and remain in emergency accommodation indefinitely."

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