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Rent Certainty ‘now essential as rents soar’ – Ó Broin

18 October, 2016 - by Eoin Ó Broin TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Housing Eoin Ó Broin TD has called on Minster for Housing Simon Coveney to make rent certainty a key component of his overdue strategy for the private rented sector, as research published today by Savills has indicated that there is no end in sight to rising rents.

Deputy Ó Broin said:

“This government has failed renters. An increasing number of people are now living in the private rented sector, with up to a quarter of the population of Dublin now living in private rented accommodation. There was nothing in last week’s budget that offered relief to struggling renters, as Minister Coveney chose to instead forge ahead with his misguided ‘Help to Buy’ scheme.

“On the same day, the Minister spun the figures on his housing budget in the Dáil chamber, Fine Gael, supported by their colleagues Fianna Fáil in the Seanad, voted down Sinn Féin’s Rent Certainty Bill. This Bill would have provided rent certainty to both tenants and landlords by linking rent increases and decreases with the CPI. This Bill, which could have saved renting families up to €2,000 per year, was opposed by Minister Coveney and Deputy Barry Cowen, when it was tabled it in the Dáil last June.

 “The Savills report also highlighted what Sinn Féin has been stating for years. The dismal lack of real social housing has forced people into private rented accommodation, which has contributed to the increase in rental demand. This is no surprise when you consider that there has been 90% reduction in capital funding of housing since 2008. The modest increase of €150m as announced in this year’s budget will barely scratch the surface of the supply problem.

“What the Minister fails to see is that an increase in the supply of real social housing not only meets the needs of those on Council waiting lists but reduces the pressure on the private rental and purchase markets.

“Another significant contribution in the dysfunctional rental market is the abject failure of this government to act on the issue of ‘Buy to Let’ properties. Sinn Féin has consistently called for the government to legislate for a compulsory code of conduct for banks and funds, where they are selling buy-to-let properties that are rented. The code of conduct needs to give sitting tenants an extended notice-to-quit period of up to twelve months and first option on becoming tenants in the property if is bought by a new landlord.

“The Minister’s proposal to provide additional protection to tenants in blocks of 20 units or more will do nothing for the vast majority of renters who are at risk of losing homes due to bank repossessions.

“A key recommendation of the Housing and Homeless Committee was to that the Government should seek to acquire, or facilitate the acquisition of, distressed buy-to-let properties and maintain the occupant in the property on affordable rent, differential rent or an affordable mortgage.

“It is time for this government to pay attention to the overwhelming amount of evidence in front of them and to act on the private rented sector before more people are forced out of their homes.” 

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