Rental crisis a ticking time bomb for old and young

Ivana Bacik TD
11 May 2023

Raising the Alone and Threshold report published today (Double Deficit: Older and Ageing Persons in the Irish Private Rental Sector), which shows that 40% of elderly people renting in the private market now expect to rent for the rest of their lives, Labour leader and housing spokesperson Ivana Bacik has accused the Government of hardening inequality through its failures in housing policy.

Deputy Bacik said:

“Time and time again the struggles of older people are ignored by society and the state. Our entire housing and pension system has relied on the assumption that people over 65 will be homeowners, who have paid off their mortgages and are not paying rent.

“The non-contributory state pension sits at a meagre €13,000 a year. Even with HAP payments, how could Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil expect anyone to pay for private rental accommodation – or a mortgage – on that income?

“Our population is ageing rapidly, and with the chronic housing shortage the many generations locked out of home ownership will need a much more sophisticated pension system to cope with the rising cost of housing.

“This is the ticking time bomb of the housing crisis.

“I’m increasingly hearing from people in their forties and fifties who are still renting long after they thought they would be able to buy, and people in their twenties and thirties who do not see any prospect of ever being able to buy their own home.

“The Minister for Housing stated that this research by Alone and Threshold would ‘help inform our policies and target our housing actions further’ – as if this problem had appeared out of thin air, as if it wasn’t a result of two successive Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil governments.

“Government can’t wring their hands now and say they didn’t know this crisis existed. Many NGOs and civil society groups have been warning them for years.

“It now looks like the Doomsday clock is set. With almost 12,000 people homeless, 175 of whom are over 65, this problem is set to get worse in the years ahead as many people in the generation to come have no hope of ever owning their own home.

“Current housing policy serves no one, not the young and not the old. Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil have utterly eroded the social contract. There is no further time to waste.”

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