Five wasted years of FG and FF policy – rent freeze needed

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WELCOMING Government’s belated decision to reform the Rent Pressure Zone model, Labour housing spokesperson Rebecca Moynihan said the move should be part of a wider package of rental reforms with the proposals representing a lack of ambition from the Minister for renters.

The announcement by the Minister is welcome but he must clarify that what Government are putting forward ensures that renters won’t be hit with 4% rent increase for 2020 when rents were meant to be frozen. This was a loophole which needs to be closed. A wider three year rent freeze is also urgently needed to stem the skyrocketing cost of renting in Ireland.

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Pointing to the Renters’ Rights Bill launched yesterday by Senator Moynihan and Dublin Bay South by-election candidate Senator Ivana Bacik, Senator Moynihan said Government needs a complete package of rental reform to ensure that long term rental accommodation is secure, affordable and gives people dignity in their home.

Senator Moynihan said:

“We know that unaffordable rents are crippling renters. There are structural things that need to be dealt with to make renting more affordable for all people – single people, married people, young workers, retired people.

“There is a power imbalance between renters and landlords. Landlords can charge what they want with very little transparency expected of them. We need also need a rent register to address this, and ensure that full information is included for any dwelling – including the number and duration of previous tenancies, any refurbishment works which may have been undertaken.

“We need this type of transparency in the rental market to allow renters to see what works have been carried out to justify any increases in rent. It would also end the practice of landlords seeking to bypass the rules around rent pressure zones on the basis that there have allegedly been substantial renovations to the property.

“Rental security of tenure will not be addressed by what the Minister has proposed today. We need to put renters at the centre of the housing system and ensure that every home for rent is to high standard. Many renters feel they cannot make the place their own. Rather than bringing along their favourite couch and light fittings, they have to accept the taste of their landlord.

“The Bill published by Labour yesterday would give renters the right to opt for an unfurnished home, should they wish to do so, for the same rent. This practice is used in many other countries, and allows renters to make their place their home, which is particularly important for long term renters and families.

“Renters in Ireland remain unable to do the most basic things, like drying their clothes on the balcony or owning a pet. Through introducing model tenancy agreements which have been successful in many other jurisdictions, we could ensure that renters are able to hang their clothes out to dry in gardens and on balconies”