A winter eviction ban is the “least worst option” given the nation’s dire housing crisis, an organisation that helps people avoid homelessness has said.
In August, there were 10,805 people living in emergency accommodation - the highest number on record - and industry insiders believe the number will continue to climb.
Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien is drawing up proposals for a winter eviction ban but landlord associations claim that it will lead to an exodus of properties from the private rental market.
“Why are landlords leaving the market?” Mary Conway, a spokesperson for the Irish Property Owners Association, told The Pat Kenny Show.
“Because of over regulation and over taxation. This is imposing another restriction on landlords.”
It is a concern that those who work with the homeless share but have concluded is a risk worth taking.
“[It] may have a longer-term impact on the smaller landlords who are deciding whether or not to remain in a market which is subject to these bans,” John-Mark McCafferty, CEO of Threshold, told On The Record with Gavan Reilly.
“What we’re saying is we’re reluctantly saying that on balance, given the dire situation right now that a limited eviction ban, both time bound and in terms of circumstances is both probably, on balance, the least worst option.”
Property prices are currently hovering around the same mark as they were at the peak of the Celtic Tiger and many landlords who were once in negative equity have decided to sell up.
“They’re seeing much better value in terms of selling than they would have done five or six years ago,” Mr McCafferty continued.
“They have a right to sell their property but like all of these things in landlord-tenant relationships, it’s really delicate.
“It’s a landlord’s property but it’s a family’s home and it’s an individual’s home.
“When a landlord decides to end that tenancy, you have effectively a family who is out of home and unless they can find an alternative solution… then we have a real problem.”
Speaking to Newstalk, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said work still needed to be done on an eviction ban before it could be legislated for.
“As I’ve been saying consistently for the last number of weeks, the policy decision has to have sound legal underpinning and work has been underway from the Minister for Housing in particular and I expect proposals to come before cabinet at some stage in relation to this.”
Main image: A rough sleeper.