Sinn Féin housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin has described the private rental sector as ‘broken’ and called for ‘a change in policy to protect renters and meet peoples long term housing needs.’ The comments were made as Deputy Ó Broin launched Sinn Féin’s submission to the Department of Housings public consultation on the private residential rental sector.
Teachta Ó Broin said:
“The private rental sector is broken. Rents are too high and rising. Single property landlords continue to exit the market, though by what number remains unclear. New institutional investment, too expensive for many workers, has stalled.
“It has never been harder to be a renter. The sector has never been so insecure or so expensive. The threat of homelessness has never been greater.
“All of this is because of decades of bad policy from Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil. Over the last twenty years they have presided over a rapidly growing private rental sector that is unstable, insecure, and expensive.
“Importantly, the failure of Government to deliver large volumes of social and affordable homes to rent and buy have forced huge numbers of people into a private rental sector than cannot meet their needs.
“A third of all private renters are subsidised by HAP, RAS and Rent Supplement. These people should be in long term secure social housing. A further significant number of renters, not eligible for social housing, struggle with excessive housing costs. These people should be in affordable cost rental or affordable purchase homes.
“Increasingly older people and students, unable to access more affordable housing options, are left at the mercy of the private rental sector. At least a half of all private renters should be in other forms of housing tenure.
“It is time for Government policy to change. We need a smaller, more professional, and more stable private rental sector. This can only be achieved if we see a dramatic expansion of social and affordable homes and the transfer of tenants and housing stock from the private rental sector to the social and affordable housing sectors.
“In our submission to the Department of Housing’s review of the private rental sector today we have set out what short term emergency measures that are required to protect renters from rising rents and the threat of homelessness. We have also set out a wider set of reforms for the private rental sector to address the structural weaknesses of that sector caused by decades of bad housing policy.
“We need a stable and affordable private rental sector. However, Government policy must also focus on meeting peoples’ long term housing needs which means growing the social and affordable sectors and reducing the overall size of the private rental sector as a percentage of our housing stock.”
The submission is available to view here