Time for security of tenure for renters

Ivana Bacik TD
21 June 2023
  • Threshold report highlights insecurity as issue for almost half of renters
  • Bacik demands progress on Renters’ Rights Bill before summer recess

Labour leader and housing spokesperson Ivana Bacik TD said the Threshold report published today shows renting simply is not working for people.

Deputy Bacik said:

“We need to rethink renting in Ireland. The Threshold survey, published today, was conducted last year, before the lifting of the eviction ban. Yet nearly half of renters surveyed reported that they felt insecure in their rental accommodation. Renters are constantly concerned that, through no fault of their own, they will be evicted and sent back into Ireland’s unaffordable rental market.

“Labour’s Renters’ Rights Bill, which Government did not oppose in a debate in 2021, must be enacted before the Oireachtas breaks for summer.

“That bill would remove so-called ‘no fault’ evictions as well as limiting the circumstances in which a tenancy can be ended where a property is to be put up for sale. Renters are crying out for these basic forms of protection, which are so commonplace in other European countries. Even the Conservative Party of Britain has decided to introduce greater protections for renters. Ireland is lagging behind and renters are suffering as a result.

“The affordability crisis in the market is also highlighted by Threshold in the report, published today.

“It is shocking to learn that almost one fifth of those surveyed are spending more than half of their income on rent. Half of renters surveyed pay more than thirty per cent of their income on their monthly rent.

“Successive Housing Ministers have utterly failed to grasp the nettle on affordability, turning a blind eye to clear breaches of Rent Pressure Zone rules and the auctioning of rental rooms by landlords awarding a lease to the highest bidder.

“To tackle affordability, Labour’s Bill would introduce a transparency register of rental properties so that prospective tenants can see exactly what others have been asked to pay in rent in the past.

“None of these measures are a silver bullet, but they would provide renters with greater protections while more supply comes on stream. Right now, 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 the place feel like a home.

“This failure to tackle renters’ rights is borne out in the Threshold report. Only 17% of renters are renting by choice. As a nation, we need to change how we think about renting, but this will only happen when we see a step change in how the market operates.

“In a highly volatile market, renters are sick of sound bites and platitudes. They need real action to strengthen their hand in the housing market. Only Labour’s Renters’ Rights Bill can do this. The legislation has been written. The Government must now pass it, without delay.”

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