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Call for three-year rent freeze as Government inflation plan backfires

There are calls for a three-year rent freeze with hundreds of thousands of tenants facing further...
Michael Staines
Michael Staines

11.41 21 Sep 2021


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Call for three-year rent freez...

Call for three-year rent freeze as Government inflation plan backfires

Michael Staines
Michael Staines

11.41 21 Sep 2021


Share this article


There are calls for a three-year rent freeze with hundreds of thousands of tenants facing further price increases.

It comes after the Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien linked rent increases to inflation in a bid to keep a lid of soaring rents.

When the legislation was introduced, Minister O’Brien said it would have seen rents rising by no more than 1% over the previous three years.

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In the months since however, inflation has shot up and is now running at 3%.

Inflation

On The Pat Kenny Show this morning, the Sinn Féin Housing Spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin said the Government should have seen the increases coming.

“Unfortunately, we knew this was going to happen,” he said.

“When Darragh O’Brien introduced this legislation, he claimed that inflation over the previous four months had averaged out at 0.7% and therefor, if your rent review was pegged to inflation, it would be effectively zero.

“The problem is, in the month that Darragh introduced the legislation, inflation was already rising.

“It was 1.9%, it then up to 2.2%, in August it was at 3% and Charlie Weston writing in The Irish Independent today quotes a number of economists suggesting it could pass 4%.

“We told Darragh this on the floor of the Dáil.”

Rent

He said the move to link rents to inflation was the right policy at the wrong time – noting that Sinn Féin first suggested it in 2016 - with Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil voting it down five times in the years since.

“Back then, we were only beginning to see the start of rental inflation,” he said. “If, back in 2016, you had linked rents to inflation, you wouldn’t have had the double digit rent inflation we have had in the intervening period.

“The problem is because Simon Coveney’s rent pressure zones didn’t work, rents were never effectively capped for most renters in high demand areas at 4%.

“Fast forward to 2021 and rents are now so high - I mean the average rent in Dublin is between 1,700 and 2,200 depending on where you live - so, what we need now at this point is a three-year emergency ban on rent increases.”

 

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Also on the show, internationally renowned singer Paul Byrom said he was recently refused a rental property because of the issues facing the entertainment industry.

Mr Byrom said he refused despite being able to prove that he had not missed a rental payment in the past three years.

He said it is night on impossible for a musician to get a mortgage, rent a property or even source car insurance in Ireland.

The most recent Daft report found that Irish rents had increased by 5.6% in the past year.


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