Sinn Féin spokesperson on Housing Eoin Ó Broin TD has again called for a ban on rent increases following CSO figures for August, which show that the annual growth in the Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices (HICP) was +3%. This is what rent increases are now linked to.
Teachta Ó Broin said:
“Two months ago, Darragh O’Brien finally accepted the rent pressure zone legislation, linking rent rises to an annual 4% cap, was not working.
“Instead of banning rent increases for three years to protect tenants from more unaffordable rent hikes, he decided to link rents to the Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices (HICP).
“But according to the CSO, prices on average, as measured by the EU Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices (HICP), increased by 3.0% compared with August 2020.
“The CSO further notes that one of the most notable changes in the year were increases in housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels (+7.3%).
“In his press release announcing the changes to the legislation, the Minister stated that over the past three years, there has been an average of a 0.73% increase in the HICP.
“However, when the new legislation was debated in the Dáil, the Minister was warned that inflation was rising and that banning rent increases for three years was the only way to give tenants a break from spiralling rent rises.
“This 3% rise in inflation means that the changes to the residential tenancies act introduced by Darragh O’Brien, to replace the ineffective rent pressure zone legislation will be just as ineffective.
“The Minister for Housing’s rent controls are now in tatters. He must now accept that we are in a housing crisis and that a crisis response is required.
“Linking rents to the HICP is an effective tool in mature, more stable housing systems. Unfortunately, as we remain in a state of crisis, we need to see rent increases banned for three years and a refundable tax credit worth one month’s rent.
“This must be done in conjunction with significant investment in cost rental projects at scale to ensure that there is a supply of affordable rental homes coming on stream and not just high priced, unaffordable, developer-led build to rent apartments.”