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Government foot dragging has allowed rents to soar in 2015 – Ellis

17 November, 2015 - by Dessie Ellis TD

Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Dessie Ellis TD has slammed the governments drawn out arguments over rent measures for allowing rents to increase faster in 2015 than at any time during the boom.  He made his comments in advance of today’s Seanad debate on the governments rent proposals after the release of new figures from which show rent levels have soared since September.

Deputy Ellis said;

"We have known for years that the shortage of housing and absence of any meaningful rent regulations was leading to continuous and unsustainable rent increases across the state. This data from shows that since September rents have risen across the state by 3.2%. With Dublin, Cork, Galway and Limerick seeing increases of between 8.9 and 13.5% on last year it is clear that these measures are coming very late.

“It is also clear, given the faster pace of increases this year, that the governments wrangling and foot dragging on how to tackle the crisis has encouraged landlords to raise rents even further in preparation for whatever the government finally decided to do.

“Sinn Féin welcomes the decision to delay rent reviews by a further 12 months for a period but it is simply too little too late. What we needed was a much earlier intervention by the state but in any case something more far reaching and could have been done even at this late stage.

“For the last five years we have been calling for the government to implement a system of regulation on rents which would not just limit increases but directly deal with existing unaffordable rents as has been done in cities like Berlin with great success. This would have meant setting local standard rates based on the size and location of a property and limiting future increases to inflation and the consumer price index. A measure such as this would have brought down rents to a fair level in the short term and ensured stability into the future. Unfortunately the government have offered the bare minimum in terms of regulation and offered landlords a sweetened deal with tax breaks and lower standards.

“Rent controls such as those proposed by Sinn Féin will not help people already homeless in the short term, as some have noted, but it would stop the flow of tenants into homelessness due to an inability to afford already excessive rent levels. Under the government plan, unaffordable rent will remain unaffordable. We also expect many tenants who have not had their rent increased already this year to have a substantial increase before this new legislation is in place.

“The government allowed rents to soar by their inaction on regulations and housing provision and these measures, while welcome, are just not good enough to deal with the scale of the problem being faced by renters."

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