Rents ‘out of control’

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Sinn Féin housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin TD has warned that the Dublin government has ‘lost control’ of the housing market in the 26 Counties.

His comments were made as figures showed the lowest number of rental properties available on the market since records began.

Landlords have been selling up and taking profits from giant house price rises ahead of a predicted recession. State-wide, rents have increased by almost 13% on last year. Only three counties have less than double digit inflation, with average rents state-wide now €1618 per month and average rents in Dublin well over €2000 per month.

The rate of rent inflation in Galway, Limerick and Waterford are the highest, worst, ranging up to 18% annually in Limerick. This is despite all three cities being official ‘rent-pressure zones’, where rent increases are supposed to be controlled.

Figures released separately on eviction notices show that 1,781 were served across the state in the second quarter of 2022, more than double the same period in 2021.

“It is clear that [Housing Minister] Darragh O’Brien and the government have lost control of the housing market,” Mr O Broin said.

“Two years in office and almost a year into his housing plan and Darragh O’Brien is presiding over record highs in rents, house prices and homelessness.

“Meanwhile, social and affordable housing is well behind target and the private rental sector is shrinking.”

O Broin called for action in the state’s financial plans for the forthcoming calendar year, to be announced next month.

”Budget 2023 is the Minister’s last chance to make the level of change required to fix our deepening housing crisis. We need a dramatic increase in funding to deliver 20,000 social and affordable homes every year for the next decade. We need emergency action to reduce homelessness and slow down the disorderly exit of landlords from the private rental sector.

“It is not clear whether the Minister understands the depths of the crisis he is perpetuating. If we don’t see real change in September then this government’s days are numbered.”

Responding separately to the report, John-Mark McCafferty, chief executive of tenants’ rights group Threshold, said people trying to find homes to rent were facing “unjustifiable increases” in prices.

He said he was concerned that the pressure in the rental market would have a serious impact on students starting or returning to college from next month.

Sinn Féin’s Rose Conway-Walsh TD warned that there was unprecedented pressure on students and families as they desperately search for a place to live while they continue their education.

“Student accommodation shortages are at crisis point and the government is failing to act,” she said. The rush for and the scarcity of affordable student accommodation is not a new phenomenon. Every year students scramble for shelter near to their chosen college but it was entirely predictable that this year would present a crisis like no other.

“For months now I have raised this issue with [Higher Education] Minister Harris in the Dáil asking for a new student accommodation strategy and presenting solutions. He has refused to do this. As with many other issues the government’s ‘wait and see’ strategy has again failed students and their families.”

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