Our proposals to make renting more secure and affordable

The rental market in Ireland is extremely precarious, with people losing the roof over their heads far too easily and often.

The Social Democrats have produced a 12-point Renters’ Charter and a Renters Rights Bill. These are part of our efforts to make renting more secure and affordable for everyone and to prevent tenants from being fleeced.

We believe we need far better enforcement of the law in relation to rents and security of tenure, better information for both tenants and landlords, and a far more efficient dispute resolution process to serve tenants and landlords fairly.

Our Renters’ Charter

Our Renter’s Charter has 12 proposals to make renting in Ireland more secure and affordable:

1. Proper Rent Caps

  • Currently, landlords in the country’s 21 Rent Pressure Zones may not increase rents by more than 4% a year. But rents are continuing to rise far in excess of 4%. For instance, despite the supposed 4% cap, Cork rents rose by 7.7% in in 2017 and Dublin rents rose by 10.9%. The Social Democrats would link rent caps to the rate of inflation (currently under 1%) and apply it across the whole country.

2. Scrap Stamp Duty

  • At present, tenants sharing accommodation where the total rent is above €2,500 face stamp duty on top of their rental bill. As rents rise, more and more renters will fall into this category. This is a ridiculous tax and only makes a bad situation worse. We will scrap this stamp duty.

3. Proper Regulation

  •  Strengthening the Residential Tenancies Board so that it is in a much better position to regulate the rental sector.

4. Protect Buy-to-Let Tenants

  • Updating legislation to ensure that tenants of Buy-to-Let properties do not have to leave the tenancy when the property is transferred to a new landlord or receiver.

5. Longer tenancies

  • Allowing for tenancies of indefinite length – currently tenancies can be ended after six years.

6. Deposit Protections

  • A Deposit Protection Scheme and also set down a new legal definition of deposit so that it can only ever mean one month’s rent.

7. Notice of terminations

  • Requiring landlords to give at least three months’ notice for terminations of tenancies for all renters.

8. Extra Charges

  • Limiting charges that landlords can apply – such as bin collection and car parking that in some cases are being used by landlords to side-step current rent caps. We would also ban the taking of deposits to view properties for rent.

9. Ban Bidding on Rents

  • Banning rent bidding and introducing clearer penalties for people soliciting bids on rents.

10. Supply of Housing

  • Establishing a new National Housing Delivery Agency to manage the delivery of thousands of new homes, including thousands of new affordable rental homes.

11. Stiffer Penalties

  • Increasing penalties for both rogue landlords and rogue tenants.

12.  Rents Register

  • Establish a register of rents so that new tenants can find out how much rent their predecessors paid. This will allow them to check if rents caps are being properly applied to their tenancy.

You can read our full Renters’ Charter here. Our Renters Rights Bill – the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Bill 2018 is here.

Want to have your say on our proposals? Tweet using #RentersRights or alternatively leave a comment on our Facebook page.