Government accused of bowing to landlords
Sligo Sinn Féin Councillor Arthur Gibbons has accused the 26-County government of bowing to pressure from the powerful landlord lobby in refusing to ``take the logical and long overdue step of introducing strict rent control within the private rented accommodation sector as a step to prevent exploitation by slum landlords''.
Gibbons was speaking in the wake of comments by Housing Minister Bobby Molloy who ruled out introducing rent control following recently released reports by the housing organization Threshold and the Commission on the Private Rented Residential Sector.
Welcoming the report from Threshold and echoing their call to introduce rent control, Gibbons said ``the government's refusal to introduce rent control and other measures to deal with affordability will condemn tenants yet again to continued and substantial rent increases. However, the report of the Commission on the Private Rented Residential Sector, while including a small number of positive recommendations such as the right to longer leases and just one rent review per year, was basically a landlords' charter with tenants' rights coming in very poor second in virtually every aspect of this report.
``At present over 500 families languish on Sligo Corporations housing list. Many of these families are living in private rented accommodation, not by choice, but because they cannot afford to buy their own home due to the government's failure to allocate Sligo Corporation the necessary finance to carry out a realistic increased house building program to reduce the housing waiting list. Many of these families live in appalling conditions in breach of health and safety regulations, a fact highlighted by recent figures I received from Sligo Corporation which showed that all properties within the Borough boundary that were inspected in the first part of this year failed to meet the required standard. Many of these families are also paying massive rent to landlords who do not register their property in order to avoid paying tax on their profits, who increase their rent at will and who provide no security of tenure for their tenants.''