Cost rental scheme could ease Limerick’s housing crisis

Anne Cronin, Labour Party Candidate. Picture Brendan Gleeson
Anne Cronin, Labour Party Candidate. Picture Brendan Gleeson

LIMERICK City and County Council has been told that cost-rental scheme could solve much of the housing crisis and provide a better way for working families to afford to rent and create a stable home for their children.

A not-for-profit scheme, the cost rental model charges rent based on the cost of providing the accommodation over a long-term rental of up to thirty years.

The issue was raised by Labour Party city north local election candidate Anne Cronin after she received a letter from distressed working parents, who fear losing their home of eight years and being unable to afford a new place to live.

The letter outlines how the couple have had to cope with a 40 per cent increase in rent over the last four years on one full time and one part-time income. Their financial circumstances mean that they are unable to get a mortgage.

“We dread the knock on the door to say that the landlord is selling or moving a family member in which is a situation that has happened to us twice before.

“This is our home. It is not just a piece of real estate. We may not own it but we’ve made it our family home, a place of comfort and sanctuary for our children, who should not have the worries their parents have regarding our future.

“Current policymakers offer no solutions to this crisis, they lack the imagination and courage to forge a better future for long-term renters in Ireland,” the letter says.

Ms Cronin believes that the cost-rental scheme would provide options for families like these.

“Renting in Ireland is not easy and the most recent statistics identified that rents in Limerick grew by 16.7 per cent in 2018. The highest increase across the country,” she said.

“Limerick City and County Council sit on many varying sized plots of public land throughout the county, which already removes the cost of buying the land. So if a contractor is brought in to build the units, then the rent is considerably less than the private market.

“Essentially the tenant pays the cost of providing the housing, no-one makes a profit. Cost rental is a widely used and very successful model of affordable housing delivery across Europe,” Ms Cronin explained.