Our Housing and Rent Certainty Policies

The Social Democrats want to ensure that vibrant, sustainable communities are developed with good tenure and social mix so that every person and every family is able to access the right type and location of housing, at the right time of life.

Housing policy in Ireland has largely been seen as a market responsibility, which has led to an over-exposure to economic shocks for both individuals and the state. Since the property crash the private rented sector has doubled in size and now accounts for at least one in five households. Renting has become the most expensive form and least secure housing tenure.

Download our full housing policy here.

How we would make housing more affordable and secure

  • Create a new Department of Housing Communities and Planning with a Minister at full Cabinet level;
  • Establish a key new body, Housing Ireland, and give it a central, hands-on co-ordinating remit in the procurement, planning, design and delivery of new homes and the creation of sustainable communities.

This new body would replace an existing agency, the Housing Agency. Some of the key roles/tasks of this new body would include:

  • Work in conjunction with the Private Sector, Local and Regional Authorities, NAMA, Approved Housing Bodies and the Co-operative movement to ensure delivery of supply, help achieve scale, and provide long-term planning for the future;
  • Utilise innovative financing models, and work with local authorities to produce local master plans for in-fill, brown-field and green-field sites so that funding constraints and planning risks that have slowed up the supply of new homes can be addressed;
  • Have a specific target of reducing public waiting lists by 10,000 per annum by the provision of appropriate housing.

As immediate measures to improve housing supply, our priorities are:

  • An immediate increase in Rent Supplement/HAP limits as a short-term measure to prevent homelessness:
  • An immediate investment in the financial contribution scheme for senior citizens, to incentivise scaling-down where desired and where possible, and in the process free up family homes;
  • New financial incentives to encourage the use of over the shop/business premises;
  • New fiscal measures to encourage the use of vacant accommodation;
  • Reform the Fair Deal Scheme conditions to improve incentives to let vacant homes;
  • The introduction of a development site levy as early as possible before 2019
  • See our proposals to accelerate freeing of land for housing development.
  • Download our Urban Regeneration and Housing (Amendment) Bill 2017 which we introduced in Dáil Eireann in May 2017.

How we would help renters

One in five people are currently renting in Ireland. Yet the rental market in Ireland is extremely precarious, with people losing the roof over their heads far too easily and often.

The Social Democrats want to see more certainty for those renting. Here are our proposals:

  • Reinstatement of the Part V requirement of 20% for social and starter housing. Immediately set down binding guidelines that NAMA builds sustainably, not just with a focus on the number of units;
  • Rent Certainty – we would link future rent increases in areas of high rental inflation to the cost of living.
  • Secure Occupancy for Tenants – We would undertake a review of current security of tenure provisions to robustly strengthen tenure security, including ensuring that tenancies don’t end with the sale of the property and that tenants acquire security of tenure rights after two months, instead of six.
  • Change planning laws so that all new developments must include a range of homes suitable for all stages of the life-cycle;
  • Amend the Multi Unit Development Act to reduce costs for certain home-owners (see separate section on MUDs);
  • Reduce the interest rate applying to Local Property Tax deferrals to the level of State borrowing costs, and explore other ways that this tax can be reformed to improve ability to pay.
  • Our draft law, the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Bill 2018, would give tenants more security by increasing minimum notice periods and introducing more transparency around rents charged.

Renters Charter

Our 12 point Renters’ Charter would make renting more secure. It includes the following:

  • Nationwide rent caps and strengthened regulation
  • Extra protections for tenants in buy-to-let properties
  • A deposit protection scheme to fix deposits at one month’s rent
  • Limits on extra charges for bin collections, car parking etc
  • A ban on rental bidding wars
  • Minimum 90-day notice to quit periods (up from 28 days)

Download our Renters’ Charter.


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