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Long-term renting has to be a sustainable option - Bacik

Labour TD Ivana Bacik says renting has to be seen as a sustainable option in the longer term. She...
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

20.08 21 Sep 2021


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Long-term renting has to be a...

Long-term renting has to be a sustainable option - Bacik

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

20.08 21 Sep 2021


Share this article


Labour TD Ivana Bacik says renting has to be seen as a sustainable option in the longer term.

She was speaking as hundreds of thousands of tenants could be facing further price increases.

Earlier this year, Housing Minister Darragh O'Brien linked rent increases to inflation in a bid to keep a lid of soaring rents.

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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.

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

Labour says its Renters' Rights Bill, which is due to be introduced in the Dáil on Wednesday, will redress the balance of power in the rental market.

Under the proposals excuses for evictions would be restricted, blanket bans on pets would be lifted and Rent Pressure Zones would be expanded to the whole country.

It would also allow people to rent an unfurnished home.

Deputy Bacik told The Hard Shoulder the approach to renting has to change.

"We're really trying to address what we see, and what I think most reasonable people see, as a current imbalance - whereby the landlord has much greater powers and much more extensive protections in our law than tenants.

"Traditionally we don't have a culture where people see renting as a long-term or sustainable option.

"And we really want to address that imbalance, and try and ensure that there is greater protection for renters - and that renting is seen as a longer-term and more sustainable option for people to have a home.

"We have been inundated with people who are currently renting, telling us about their experiences, telling us about clear abuses of power and indeed breaches of power by landlords.

"I heard today from one constituent a requirement that the tenant hires a professional cleaning company to clean the apartment on returning it to the landlord at the end of a lease, before deposit would be returned - so in other words, eating into the right to have a deposit."

She says private rentals are particularly high in her own constituency.

"In Dublin Bay South, we have more than double the national average of people who are renting: 44% of households in Dublin Bay South are in private rental accommodation.

"We need to ensure there's better protections".

Deputy Bacik says rents have increased by almost 40% in Dublin, and 20% elsewhere, despite the introduction of Rent Pressure Zones in 2016.

While Sinn Féin is calling for a three-year rent freeze.

The party's housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin earlier told Newstalk the Government should have seen the increases coming.

"Unfortunately, we knew this was going to happen.

"When Darragh O'Brien introduced this legislation, he claimed that inflation over the previous four months had averaged out at 0.7% and therefore, 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."

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.

"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", he added.

Main image: Labour's Ivana Bacik at the publication of paid leave for reproductive health-related issues outside Leinster House in March 2021. Picture by: Sasko Lazarov / RollingNews.ie

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Dublin Bay-South Ivana Bacik Long-term Renting Rent Pressure Zones Renters Rights Bill Sustainable The Hard Shoulder

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