People are at breaking point – rent freeze needs to be rolled out in cost of living package

Senator Rebecca Moynihan
10 February 2022

Labour housing spokesperson Rebecca Moynihan said government’s cost of living package must include an immediate rent freeze to help people struggling to make ends meet throughout the country.

Following the publication of a RED C poll on behalf of the Society of St Vincent de Paul (SVP) that reports almost half of those questioned who are renting said they were worried about their ability to pay their rent in the next six months, Senator Moynihan said the continued disregard of renters by government is having huge societal ramifications.

Senator Moynihan said:

“We are all waiting for the government to publish their proposals to tackle the soaring cost of living in Ireland. However, unless there are specific provisions in place for renters, the plans won’t be worth the paper they’re written on.

“The poll published by the SVP shows that renters are cutting back on the everyday essentials like food due to the fact that they’re paying more on bills. Asking renters to choose between a warm meal or a warm room is a shocking inditement of a government that is totally out of touch with the realities of people’s lives.

“The failed policies of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil have not worked and are not working. Labour is committed to pushing government to a rent freeze. It’s the only option available to help struggling renters until more homes come into supply. We know we can have an effective rent freeze, because Alan Kelly introduced this very measure for two years in 2015. It has been done before and can be done again, it’s just a matter of political will.

“We also need to see proper enforcement of rental caps. Yesterday’s Daft report shows a widespread breaking of the rent pressure zone rules yet there is no mechanism in place to confront landlords who are exploiting the system. Only 29 people were sanctioned for such practices last year, yet every single county has places where people are breaking rental caps.

“Renters were already struggling. Now, with the high cost of living and astronomical rents, many can barely afford to make ends meet, yet alone save for a deposit to buy their own home. Affordability of rent is a key cost of living issue that needs to be addressed by government. A rent freeze is needed right now to give renters a break while supply catches up with what’s required in Ireland in 2022.”

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