Government must extend eviction ban and progress renters’ rights

Ivana Bacik TD
28 March 2023
  • Calls on all members of Dáil Éireann to vote to extend the eviction ban
  • Urges fast-tracking of Labour’s Renters’ Rights Bill 2021 to tackle inequities for tenants

Speaking in advance of a Labour Party motion of no confidence in this Government over persistent and consistent failures in housing, Labour leader and housing spokesperson Ivana Bacik has urged a rethink on Government’s housing approach.

Deputy Bacik said:

“Even at this 11th hour, it’s not too late for Government to do the right thing and extend the eviction ban.

“In January, 11,754 people were in in state-funded emergency accommodation. This figure does not include people sleeping rough, people couch surfing, homeless people in hospitals and prisons, those in Direct provision centres, and homeless households in Domestic Violence Refuges. These people are not included in the regular monthly homeless figures as they are not accessing emergency homeless accommodation funded through Section 10 of the Housing Act. The real figure is much higher.

“The Government spent 539 million on HAP and 114 million on RAS in 2022 – huge subsidies to a private sector which has proven that it can’t and won’t meet the housing needs of the people. We need a radical rethink.

“The first piece of legislation I introduced upon my election to Dáil Éireann was Labour’s renters’ rights bill to level the playing field for the thousands of renters trapped in an unfair market. Among other aspects of this Bill, it would have required the Government to provide certainty and security of tenure to renters so that renting may be seen as a viable, long-term option for those who wish to do so.

“Labour’s legislation is more vital now than ever before. As the Government’s indefensible decision to lift the eviction ban shows, we as a nation we need to change how we think about renting. A report published by Threshold last October showed that one in five households are renting now, compared with one in 10 in the 1990s.

“Yet, we totally lag behind other countries on renters’ rights. Renters are expected to put up with extortionate rents, evictions at the drop of the hat and many can’t make their place feel like a home. This, coupled with the now very real prospect of receiving a notice to quit, is making life unbearable for renters in Ireland.

“People are putting off decisions about their family, parents don’t know where their children will be attending school and young people will continue to see no future for themselves here in Ireland.

“Government is devoted to singing to the tune of the private market which is doomed to fail. Even the proposed ‘first refusal’ for renters when their landlord is selling up the property they are living in is doomed to fail. We know the majority of renters are simply unable to keep up with astronomical rents, with no room for saving. We need a radical re-think and real strengthening of renters’ rights.”

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