Targeted measures needed for growing population of renters feeling the squeeze

December 4, 2017

Social Democrats co-leader Catherine Murphy TD has called for a raft of targeted measures to help people who are increasingly forced to share rental accommodation because of rising costs and the lack of affordable homes to buy and rent.

Deputy Murphy said:

“Today’s report from Savills Ireland shows that a fifth of the population nationwide are now renting their homes, with more people squeezing into each housing unit than ever before.

“There are now almost three people in each rented home, which includes apartments. We are talking about parents with babies who are unable to trade up to family-sized homes and young professionals who are clubbing together to pay rents at levels that are higher than they were back in the boom.

“It’s obvious that what is ultimately needed is a rapid house construction programme to deliver a supply of decent affordable homes to meet the pent-up demand out there. But we urgently need to see a whole raft of targeted measures to help people in the private rental sector where prices are constantly increasing due to the chronic shortage of supply.

“For example, students and young professionals who are sharing rented accommodation have to pay stamp duty for monthly rents of above €2,500 at a rate of one per cent – that’s €25 extra a month, or €300 a year. We need to either raise the threshold at which these stamp duty charges kick in, or introduce exemptions for tenants who are sharing rental costs.”

Deputy Murphy added:

“Families trapped in unsuitably small apartments could be helped to move into three-bedroom family homes. This would free up space in rental units that are much in demand. We have called for the Central Bank to conduct an impact assessment of the 20 per cent deposit rule for this cohort of people, to see whether it can be relaxed to enable them to buy suitable family homes. It is also important that rental payments made over a sustained period are factored into banks’ assessments of the size of mortgages people can take out.”

ENDS

4 December 2017