09 May 2017

Labour Housing Spokesperson, Jan O’Sullivan TD, has said the Government needs to make use of the thousands of vacant properties around the country in a bid to tackle the housing crisis.

It comes as the latest report from property website shows rents are at a record high, while the number of available rental properties nationwide are at an all time low.

Commenting on the figures, Deputy O’Sullivan said:

“Despite much fanfare about the so-called rent pressure zones, these figures show that rent is continuing to rise and becoming simply unaffordable for many people across the country.

“It is also clear yet again that supply is a critical factor in the housing crisis, with the number of properties available to rent at an all time low.

“I have been saying for some time that a quick and easy way to deal with this is by making use of the near 200 thousand properties that are lying vacant across the country.

“Broken down, this amounts to around 27 empty homes for every person in emergency accommodation.

“I have also been calling for the Government should bring forward the Vacant Site levy by one year to tackle this crucial issue of supply.

“While there has been much goodwill towards the Minister for Housing’s ‘Rebuilding Ireland Plan’, it’s becoming more evident that it is not delivering the homes that are so urgently needed.

“One of the first Bills the Labour Party put before the current Dáil proposed to implement the Kenny Report to make land available to Local Authorities at reasonable prices to stop land-hoarding.

“As demand exceeds supply, developers sit on land, in order to make more money, while prices go up and more and more people are stuck paying spiralling rents.

“It is also vital to ensure that local authorities are not abusing the Vacant Properties Scheme, and are turning around vacant units for social housing in a timely fashion.”

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