Eviction ban must be coupled with homelessness action plan
- Calls for removing of barriers to tenant in situ scheme and mapping exercise by local authorities to prevent homelessness
In anticipation of the likely implementation of an eviction ban this winter, Labour housing spokesperson Rebecca Moynihan said every moment must be utilised between now and the lifting of the ban to protect people from entering homelessness.
With evictions up 58%, Senator Moynihan said red tape must be removed around tenant in situ scheme and a mapping exercise must be undertaken by local authorities to identify households at risk of homeless and put a plan in place to protect them.
Senator Moynihan said:
“Labour has long called for the introduction of the eviction ban and while it’s introduction at this late stage does nothing to help the many hundreds of people who have been evicted out of their rental accommodation in recent months, it will protect those who remain at risk this winter.
“Labour first called for an eviction ban in light of the housing crisis in March of this year, when 9,825 people were living in homelessness. Since then, over 1,000 people have entered homelessness with most recent figures published by the Department in September recording 10,805 people living in homelessness. It’s a disgrace.
“During the pandemic, we saw the impact that an eviction ban can have on preventing people entering homelessness. The scale of the housing crisis is such that government has no option but to temporarily ban evictions. While the ban is in place, government must plan appropriately for its lifting in 2023.
“Local authorities must be mandated to use these months to map out people at risk of homelessness in the Private Rental Sector, and to remove red tape and hesitation where there is a tenant in situ and buy the property. A report compiling this data must be delivered to the Housing Minister in January so he can prepare for the lifting of the ban and prevent any potential crisis for those at risk.
“For the period of the emergency eviction ban, the Minister must scale up the tenant in situ scheme and remove red tape to ensure that where a landlord is leaving the market, the tenant can remain in their home. We need to shrink our reliance on the Private Rental Sector to fulfil our social housing needs. This is the most efficient way of doing this. We can’t continue with our two tier system of social housing – propping up landlords while tenants can be evicted when their landlord decides to sell.
“This is a huge issue that many renters have been faced with over the past 12 months. We know that a huge volume of people entering homelessness come from the private rental sector. Local authorities must be empowered to safeguard against homelessness in this way.
“The threat of losing a home is possibly the greatest fear any household can face. Many households will be relieved by news of an eviction ban. However, it is no replacement for building homes. We know that there is no simple solution when it comes to housing. It takes two to three years to build homes. Yet Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have had over five wasted years when it comes to addressing Ireland’s housing disaster.
“The Government has the funds to scale up building. The Housing Department’s capital spending is €120 million, or 21% below its profile. There is scope to invest in the fundamental lack of supply in the housing market through increasing targets in cost rental properties and social and affordable homes. Indeed this point is further evidenced by the Simon report published today outlining the dearth of rental accommodation.
“It’s a worrying time for any renter heading into the winter – even if the eviction ban is implemented. This type of short-term measure must be coupled with a medium-term winter homelessness plan and a long-term plan to build more homes. This is no time for business as usual. The speculative housing market has a hidden human and social cost we cannot afford.”