Labour law would tackle high rents and tighten eviction rules

30 May 2018

Labour Party spokesperson on Housing and Planning, Jan O’Sullivan TD, will today bring the Greater Security of Tenure and Rent Certainty Bill to the Dáil during Private Members’ Time. This Bill seeks to give renters greater security in their homes.

Ahead of the Dáil debate, Deputy O’Sullivan said:

“Today the Dáil will debate the Labour Party’s Greater Security of Tenure and Rent Certainty Bill,. I published this Bill in the context of the March homeless figures that showed nearly 10,000 people homeless in the country.

“Today, Barnardos, Simon Communities, Focus Ireland and the Society of St.Vincent de Paul presented evidence of thousands more “hidden homeless”, who are forced to live in overcrowded spaces in the homes of others as well as parents or indeed their other relatives.

“Most people who are being made homeless end up that way because their rents have been hiked or they have been put out of their private rented accommodation because their landlords have said that it is needed for a family member, that the place has to be done up or that it is being sold. The main purpose of this Bill is to address that issue. It is a really urgent and serious situation and this is something that we can do in the shorter term.

“The anxiety and misery endured by families and particularly children, has to end.

“The Constitution contains property rights but they are supposed to be balanced with social rights and the needs of the common good. I strongly urge that in the crisis we have with homelessness, the common good needs to be served by giving people the kind of certainty and security that their counterparts in the rental sectors in most neighbouring European states have but which they do not have. The simple legislation we are proposing would address that.

“This Bill is once again trying to convince the Government of the merits of linking rent to inflation through the Consumer Price Index. This Bill also deems the entire country a Rent Pressure Zone. We know that people outside the Dublin area, including in my city, Limerick, are paying very high rents although they do not live in rent pressure zones. This is designed to protect all renters throughout the country.

“This Bill also stipulates that a deposit will not exceed one month’s rent. We hear many stories of people asking for two to three month’s rent as a deposit. This puts an unreasonable amount of pressure on people who need to find a home.

“This Bill includes many practical measures to protect people from losing their homes in the context of the soaring figures relating to homelessness. I hope Parties from across the House will support this Bill this evening.”

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