The Government needs to end "outrageous" tax breaks for property investment funds, Eoin Ó Broin says.
The Sinn Féin housing spokesperson says he's not convinced the Government was prepared to act on the issue until the recent "outpouring of public anger".
Recent weeks have seen growing public frustration and anger over investment funds and trusts buying up new houses for the rental market.
It recently emerged that an investment firm had bought most of the properties in the 170-home development of Mullen Park in Maynooth - leaving just a few dozen of the homes available to private buyers.
Over the weekend, the Business Post reported that investment funds have outbid affordable housing bodies for hundreds of homes in recent weeks.
In the wake of the recent developments, senior ministers have been working on changes to planning and tax laws to stop investment funds from buying up property in new housing estates.
While Cabinet is expected to be updated on plans today, formal proposals are not expected to be finalised until later this week.
Amid growing political pressure on ministers to act quickly, the Dáil will this evening debate a Sinn Féin motion on the impact of investment funds.
“We think those tax breaks should end"
On Newstalk Breakfast, Eoin Ó Broin said the Government must take urgent action.
He said: "They need to bring an end to the outrageous tax advantages these property investment entities have - they pay no tax on their rent roll, they pay no capital gains tax, and in many cases they pay no dividend withholding tax.
“We think those tax breaks should end, and stamp duty should increase.”
Deputy Ó Broin said there's a need for emergency planning reform, but longer-term changes to the system.
He said there's a need to ensure developments intended for owner-occupiers are sold to those people, while planners need to consider the right mix of housing is for any given area rather than making decisions "at the behest of international investment funds”.
The Sinn Féin TD said his party is not against institutional investors, but such firms should invest from the start in new developments.
He said: “What we want to stop is vulture funds swooping in after a development has been built, and buying units that would have and should have gone on the open market.
“Darragh O’Brien was raising this when he was in opposition… but that didn’t make it into the programme for Government.
“It’s not in his affordable housing bill, so I’m not convinced this was the priority the Government is claiming it was until we had that outpouring of public anger.”
He noted that opposition parties can’t table tax legislation under Oireachtas rules, but they “can give voice to people’s anger”.