February 21, 2024
Government scheme needs to be changed to avoid pressure on private renters – Pearse Doherty TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Finance, Pearse Doherty TD, this evening criticised the decision of the government to vote down Sinn Féin’s amendment to the Accommodation Recognition Payment Scheme.

The amendment would have ensured that there was no displacement of private renters in the market as a result of the payment provided to landlords to support Ukrainian families.

In November, Minister O’Gorman said that “we do not want to pursue a measure that interferes with the private rental market”, but Deputy Doherty added that this is precisely what he and his government are doing by opposing Sinn Féin’s amendment.

Deputy Doherty added that Sinn Féin believe the scheme should continue for those Ukrainians currently being supported and to host families who open up their family home.

Teachta Doherty said:

“What our amendment dealt with is the €800 tax free payment which is made available to landlords and host families who make properties available to Ukrainians and the extension of this scheme for another year.

“The Accommodation Recognition Payment Scheme was brought in two years ago at a time of great uncertainty, but we now need to look at its impact and fairness.

“It is clear that what the government is doing will provide an incentive for the displacement of private renters. This is not fair, and the scheme must be amended.

“Last year Minister O’Gorman said that “we do not want to pursue a measure that interferes with the private rental market”, but that is precisely what he and his government are doing.

“It will provide a clear incentive for the displacement of private renters who are not beneficiaries of temporary protection.

“Landlords are openly stating that they are getting more money – tax free – from the Accommodation Recognition Grant than they would receive if they let out their properties to private renters.

“In Donegal for example, where the average rent is close to €800, a landlord can either rent out a property to a private renter for €800, subject to tax, or take €800 tax-free and rent it out to a beneficiary of temporary protection. This would leave the landlord hundreds of Euro better off.

“The State should not be providing support to homes made available to beneficiaries of temporary protection that should be available for private renters.

“Those who open their own family homes to Ukrainians should continue to be supported through the Accommodation Recognition Grant, as should Ukrainians currently availing of the scheme. But the government’s plan to extend the scheme as it is will turbocharge the pressures renters are already experiencing and make matters worse.

“Our proposal would root out this unfairness by ensuring that homes that should be available to private renters are not eligible for the Accommodation Recognition Payment. This proposal is sensible and fair and should be implemented.”

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