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Government action needed on growing problem of overcrowding – Ó Broin

10 May, 2017 - by Eoin Ó Broin TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Housing Eoin Ó Broin TD has called on Minister for Housing Simon Coveney to outline what he intends to do to tackle the growing problem of residential overcrowding.

His comments follow a briefing by the CSO to the Oireachtas housing committee at which the issue of overcrowding was discussed.

Speaking today after the Housing Committee, Deputy Ó Broin said:

“Today, the CSO briefed the housing committee on housing data from Census 2016. This included information on the growing level of overcrowding.  

“CSO statistics show that almost 10% of households are living in overcrowded accommodation. This is a staggering 95,000 households and represents a 28% increase on census results from 2011. In the majority of these cases people were living in the private rented sector and 43% were living in Dublin.

“This is yet another symptom of the housing crisis, where adult children are living at home with their parents as they cannot afford to rent or buy in the city or town that they are working in. We have all seen cases with mothers and children living in cramped one bedroom apartments as they cannot find anywhere else willing to take HAP.

“As a result, a large number of residential properties could be in breach of the overcrowding regulations in section 63 of the 1966 Housing Act and could be subject to fines. This legislation on overcrowding applies irrespective of whether the house is the subject of a tenancy.

“It is truly astonishing to think that up to 10% of households in the state could be in breach of the governments housing regulations and fined as a result of overcrowding. However we know that enforcement levels are non-existent because people accommodated in the current precarious private rented sector are unlikely to complain to local authorities about overcrowding for fear of losing their homes.  

“I have raised this matter with the Minister asking him to outline what his plans are to tackle this issue. Clearly enforcement is not the issue as no one chooses to live in overcrowded accommodation. This problem is a result of decades of government under provision of affordable, good quality accommodation. The Minister needs to state how he intends to rectify this.” 

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