Without immediate rent freeze renters face another winter of pain
Labour housing spokesperson Rebecca Moynihan said that while the rent cap introduced today is welcome, an immediate rent freeze is urgently required to protect already stretched renters.
Senator Moynihan said:
“The measures announced by government today are welcome but they do not go far enough to protect rents and tackle the unaffordable rents that are crippling renters. Labour is calling for a rent freeze to give renters a much needed break and give the market an opportunity to stabilise and recalibrate.
“We know we can have an effective rent freeze, because Alan Kelly introduced one for two years in 2015. It has been done before and can be done again. We also need proper enforcement of rental caps. Despite the 4% rent cap, last year there was a 7% increase in rents in three quarters of the country. Only 29 people were sanctioned for it last year, yet every single county has places where people are breaking rental caps.
“What is needed is for this government to fully divorce itself from investor and developer led ideals. We need to have a rethink about renters and renting as a nation. Labour’s renters’ rights bill, which was debated in September, seeks to put in place the structural changes required to reorient society’s approach to renting. It aims to give renters more power with affordability at the heart of the measures.
“In Ireland, and particularly in Dublin, many renters are faced with very poor quality housing and a host of unfair restrictions that in many cases prevent most renters from seeing their rented home as a permanent one. This is contributing to the enormous demand for buying houses and apartments.
“In other European countries, it is common practice for renters to be able to keep pets and to request an unfurnished property, so that renting is seen as a more reliable long-term option for families and for individuals. We need to introduce these measures in Ireland so that renting can be seen as a genuine alternative for people.
“With rents doubling in the last decade, almost 40pc above pre-crisis levels in Dublin and 20pc up across the rest of the country, renting is not seen as a long-term option for many people. We need to change this. We need to stabilise rents and give renters a break.”