Government-backed rent calming measures have “failed” in recent years while tenants have seen rates spiral, according to Sinn Féin.
The party moved their rent freeze legislation in the Dáil this evening, which is now set to be backed by a majority.
Housing spokesman Eoin O Broin outlined how since rent pressure zones were introduced in early 2017 – designed to limit rises to 4% – that tenants had seen rates shoot up by 24% in Dublin.
“It is time to give renters a break,” Mr O’Broin told the Dáil this evening.
Under his emergency proposals, rents would be frozen for three years and tenants would be entitled to a tax rebate of up to €1,500 a year. This would cost the Exchequer €260m a year.
Mr O Broin argued that, contrary to Government claims, it was “absolute nonsense” the measure will “scare” investors or landlords.
“The crisis in the rental sector is hurting people and damaging our economy,” said the TD, who added that rates were now “insane”.
And in many cases, tenants would need a total income of €80,000 to €100,000 annually to afford these prices, the Dáil heard.
Tenants instead were being forced to move home and live with parents, workers were spending half of their incomes to pay landlords and employers were also facing fresh wage demands, the Dáil heard.
Sinn Féin’s housing spokesperson @EOBroin highlights the growing up in the Cold report by the Society of St Vincent Paul which says 42% of children in the private rented sector experience fuel poverty pic.twitter.com/l1iVclcEEy
— RTÉ Politics (@rtepolitics) December 10, 2019
Mr O Broin said the Fine Gael-led government strategy to fix the housing and rental crises with the private market had “failed”.
Sinn Féin TDs tonight welcomed the support of Fianna Fáil for the emergency measures but said parties should have passed the measure some time ago.
Cork South Central TD Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire said rents in Cork were now averaging €1,372 a month.
Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy admitted rents were “impossibly” high, but he defended landlords and said they were an “important part of this country”.
The minister also claimed Sinn Féin TDs had opposed housing developments in their own areas while the Government had earlier this year strengthened rights for tenants
He argued that rent freezes would “damage” supply and that the proposed Bill was “unconstitutional” and even “reckless”.
Fianna Fáil’s Daragh O’Brien said his party at this stage would support the Bill, but that the party would scrutinise the legislation.
Tenants were “snared in rental traps”, he said.
He said party TDs would work at committee stage to refine the Bill. However, Fianna Fáil wanted to “strike a balance” to prevent extortionate rents but not penalise landlords who did not hike up rates.
“Rent freezes alone” would not address the different parts of the rent crisis, he told the Dáil.