Taoiseach must act urgently to prevent looming rent hikes and spike in homelessness this winter

November 22, 2016

Hundreds of families across Ireland are facing massive rent hikes in the coming weeks.  That’s according to the Social Democrats, who today (21.11.16) called on Taoiseach Enda Kenny to take immediate action to prevent a spike in homelessness this winter.


During Leaders’ Questions in the Dáil this afternoon, Róisín Shortall TD, co-leader of the Social Democrats, said: “Rent certainty measures were introduced last December to prevent landlords hiking up rents year on year.  These measures were far from perfect, but they offered some protection for cash-strapped tenants struggling to hold on to their homes in a market where rent prices were spiralling out of control.


“Now, however, these measures are due to expire for many tenants on 3rd December, leaving them with the prospect of massive rent increases, particularly where the properties in question are controlled by vulture funds.  For some families, this will result in them losing their homes.


“We are calling on the Taoiseach to take immediate action to make sure this does not happen.  Unless the rent certainty measures are extended with immediate effect, we will see a sharp spike in homelessness in the coming weeks.  The longer we go without an extension, the more renters will be affected.  There is a very real risk that the crisis in homelessness will become even more acute if the Government does not act now.”


Backdated Measures

Deputy Shortall said the measures introduced last December meant landlords were prevented from raising rents for a period of two years.  However, the measures were backdated for tenancies that began between December 2014 and December 2015, or where a rent review had occurred over that period.


“Because these measures were backdated, the two-year reprieve will end for many tenants in a few weeks’ time,” she said.


“Anyone who has been out at night during the recent cold weather must surely have been acutely aware of those sleeping rough.  We should be doing all we can right now to get people off the streets and acting now to prevent further cases of homelessness.


“Yet the Government seems to lack any sense of urgency around addressing this issue.  The current administration is great at creating a crisis, but a lot worse at resolving one.   We need urgent action now to keep families in their homes and off the streets this winter.”