No action on Government’s first refusal panacea for renters

Ivana Bacik TD
13 June 2023
  • Residential Tenancies (Right to Purchase) Bill announced without any detail on scheme

Labour leader and housing spokesperson Ivana Bacik has criticised Government’s failure to progress its legislation to provide renters with a first refusal where their landlord is selling up.

Deputy Bacik submitted Parliamentary Questions to the Minister following the announcement of the scheme in March, yet no details have been forthcoming.

Deputy Bacik said:

“Government’s own panacea plan, offering tenants ‘first refusal’ when their landlord is selling up, still lacks workable detail. In March, renters were promised this scheme as a method to help them stay in their home. Government has been silent on the scheme since it was announced.

“Floated as a sticking plaster to cover up the mess of the eviction ban, it’s now clear that the first refusal plan was another in a long line of policy announcements and decisions taken without any evidential basis.

“Even if the workings of the scheme are ironed out, the reality is, most renters simply don’t have the financial bandwidth both to pay their rent and save for a mortgage.

“Housing in Ireland is in total disarray. The eviction ban was lifted without any contingency planning, and my office is still inundated with messages from people who have received eviction notices yet have no where to go.

“Indeed, it is Labour’s belief that the entire Housing for All plan needs to be rewritten in light of the population increase revealed in the Census. In unpublished correspondence to Government, the Housing Commission outlined the need to build up to 62,000 homes per year until 2050. We are no where near having the capacity in the construction sector to reach these goals as it stands.

“Supply and affordability continue to push people to the brink in the housing market. The first refusal scheme may help safeguard some renters against the brutal bidding that is taking place in the housing market, but without any detail, it represents yet another spin over substance policy announcement.”

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