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Action, not tax breaks, needed for high rent crisis – Ellis

2 March, 2015 - by Dessie Ellis TD

Sinn Féin TD and Housing Spokesperson Dessie Ellis TD has welcomed comments by the Minister for Environment that he is planning to introduce measures to regulate residential rents but has said more detail of his plan is needed so that high rents can be dealt with without delay. He made his comments following a statement from Minister Alan Kelly that he would be seeking to introduce a framework to give rent certainty to tenants.

Deputy Ellis said:

"Whether you call it rent control, rent regulation or rent certainty we have been calling for measures to limit rent rises and bring fairness to rates for years now. The Minister and his government have consistently said that they would not introduce any such measures, even ridiculously claiming that to regulate the rental market would be unconstitutional. We know that was rubbish so why has it taken so long for the government to even admit some action on rents was needed?”

“What the Minister said at the weekend was positive and I welcome that but we need clarity. A temporary rent freeze and new limits on future increases would be very positive but how does he plan to do this. Based on previous comments in January it is questionable if the Minister's definition of rent certainty would meet the standards of many people calling for such measures. Speaking at the beginning of the year he floated the idea of new 5 year leases which would provide for more stable rent levels for tenants. This would be helpful but we need rent regulation to help people in current difficulty and we need to ensure that this is binding for all landlords and tenants.”

“The Minister has also proposed giving tax breaks to landlords to take up these leases. That's not the right way to go. The government does not need to further fund landlords in order for them to charge fair rents. We need mandatory regulations for all leases which set maximum rent limits based on the consumer price index, limit future increases and to promote longer leases as well.”

“Real action is needed not tax breaks for landlords or more statements from the Minister. He must introduce rent regulation without delay.” 

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