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The need for rent regulation has never been clearer – Ellis

9 October, 2015 - by Dessie Ellis TD

Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Dessie Ellis TD has said that the need for rent regulation to provide value and stability for tenants has never been clearer and the government must act immediately. He made his comments on foot of new figures from the CSO that show private residential rents have now risen beyond even the levels experienced at the height of the so called ‘Celtic Tiger’.

Deputy Ellis said;

"Rent regulation is something that should always be in place to ensure that people can afford the most basic need in our society which is a secure and adequate place to live. However the crisis in homelessness which has been caused in part by spiralling rents over the last five years only makes the need for such measures more crucial. We cannot allow housing to be something that people, working or unemployed cannot afford even with state support.

“The latest CSO figures released show that the state has seen a 35% rise in rents since 2010 and that rates now are above the previous peaks in 2007. During the so called ‘Celtic Tiger’ period, full time employment was far more common and wages were higher. Taxes on low wages were much lower with no USC and lower VAT rates. In 2007 Rent Supplement was also more closely aligned to the market rates.

“In Dublin in this year alone rents have risen by 9.2%. These rates which amount to a large chunk of any low or middle earners’ income and completely outstrip today’s Rent Supplement payments, are leading to intense hardship and deprivation for many families who struggle each month to afford their rent and keep food on the table and pay for utilities. In the worst cases, which are all too common, families and single people have lost their homes because they cannot afford the rents being asked for.

“The rise in rents has been caused by a number of factors which have led to increased demand and exacerbated by the failure of the government to provide social housing in meaningful numbers. The long term sustainable solution is a massive investment in social housing by the state as proposed by Sinn Féin in our budget proposals and other policy positions, but we also need immediate action to stop renters losing their homes. The best way to do this is to regulate rent by setting a fair standard and limiting future increases.

“With a 76% increase in homelessness from January and well over 1000 children sleeping in hotels and B&B's each night we cannot wait for homes to be built as more families lose theirs. Berlin and other cities have found success in reducing and stabilising rents through new models of rent regulation and we must look at these models and act without delay."

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