Ferocious rents locking people out of home ownership

Senator Rebecca Moynihan
26 July 2022
  • Time for a rent register
  • Ban on evictions needed
  • Rent freeze would ease cost of living pressures

Labour housing spokesperson Rebecca Moynihan said the dysfunctional rental market is trapping people into renting without any hope of home ownership.

With the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) reporting that renters in Dublin are paying on average €24,000 annually on rent, Senator Moynihan said the early Budget must include targeted measures to ease the pain on renters.

Senator Moynihan said:

“The RTB report has shone a light on just how dire the rental market has become. With average rents in Dublin at €1,987 per month, people are more than paying the equivalent of a mortgage on their rent. However, the idea of saving additional money for a deposit is simply unthinkable for the majority of renters who are running to stand still.

“Throughout the country, rents continue to increase. Twelve counties had a yearly growth rate of new tenancy rents above 10%. This is on top on increases in the cost of the basics like food and transport. Meanwhile, wages have not increased.

“Renters are among the most insecure people in our housing market, and with more and more people unable to save for a deposit due to extortionate rents, we are staring down the barrel of an economic and social crisis beyond belief.

“There must be more transparency in the market for people renting. Labour’s Renters’ Rights Bill has a provision to provide a register of rents accessible to all, so prospective renters can see how much a place was previously rented for. This would also have clearly highlight any breaches of the Rent Pressure Zone rules, which we know are widespread. Unfortunately, some landlords are using the supply crisis as an opportunity to hike up prices at the expense of people desperate to keep a roof over their head.

“Every month, the Department of Housing issues its homelessness figures. The majority of people entering homelessness are coming from the private rental sector. In recognition of this, and in light of the cruel reality of renting in Ireland, we need Government to implement an emergency eviction ban. This targeted and time-limited measure stopped people falling into homelessness during the pandemic. It was done before, it should be done again.

“This measure must be coupled with a rent freeze. Rent freezes are constitutionally possible, and this temporary emergency measure would help stem the crisis as more affordable homes come into supply.

“Long term, we need much more social and affordable housing built at scale, but short term we need to see targeted measures from government to protect those trapped into renting. It’s hard to believe that the crisis could continue to worsen but, due to the failed policies of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, it does.

“Inflation will lock many renters into a poverty trap. Coupled with Ireland’s high cost of living, there is no doubt that more and more people in the private rental market will become at risk of homelessness and locked out of any hope of home ownership unless inflation busting measures are implemented to protect them.”

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