Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Housing Minister listening to Sinn Fein Agenda

24 May, 2007

Sinn Féin Housing Spokesperson Fra McCann has welcomed the early indication that the new Housing Minister Margaret Ritchie is listening to the housing agenda set out by Sinn Féin.

Mr McCann said:

"Only this week the Assembly debated a Sinn Fein motion on the scandal of nearly 40,000 homes lying empty while we have a housing crisis. Now Margaret Ritchie is recognising that action to tackle empties is a priority. I am delighted that she is listening to the housing agenda set out by Sinn Féin.

"However, there are further steps that Margaret can follow, some that don't even require significant investment.

In terms of vacant properties I believe that two important decisions should be taken:

  • no house in public ownership should lie empty more than 3 months;
  • the use of compulsory purchase orders - where derelict property and properties vacant for 12 months.

"But the new Housing Minister can also take other immediate steps. We should tackle the issue of the mandatory registration of all private landlords. This would require little investment, simple legislation yet make an immediate impact on not just the private rented sector but also on the out of control buy-to-let market.

"I also believe that a legislative requirement that at least 25-30% of all private development sites are earmarked for social and affordable housing is essential. This could, in tandem with a robust agenda to tackle empties, very quickly begin to address the major shortage of both social and affordable housing." ENDS

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