New measures to control rents must be extended to Laois and other parts of the Dublin Commuter belt according to Laois TD Brian Stanley.
In the same week as the St Vincent De Paul said high rent is driving demand in Portlaoise, the Sinn Féin TD said more should have been done to limit rents beyond in Cork, Dublin and a few other locations.
“This government has spectacularly failing yet again to do anything about spiralling rents in commuter belt counties such as Laois and South Kildare. Yet another opportunity has been missed to ease the burden on low paid workers and families who have had to endure sky rocketing rents over the past two years.
"Rents have increased by 13.6% on average over the past year in Laois and 13.4% in Kildare due to the fact that the two counties are in the commuter belt. I have had people come to me in the past few months who had their rents increased by as much as 40%. Yet the Government sit on their hands and hope that the market will rectify this," Dep Stanley told the Dáil.
The TD said one fact that is not not been faced is that rent in all parts of the state are way above the threshold allowed by the Department of Social Protection for rent supplement.
"This means that tenants have to put down false figures on their application forms when applying for rents support. It also means that the poorest of household have to pay the huge differential between what the receive in rent supplement and what the actual rent is.
"So the net effect is that the taxpayer and the tenant are ripped off and what does the government do, bury its head in the sand and pretend rents are not really that high.
The Sinn Féin TD said soaring rent is directly causing people to loose their homes and is adding to the growing number of homeless individuals and families.
"If you don’t tackle the source of the problem, then any plan is doomed to failure," he said.
Recent surveys for Laois have shown rapidly rising rents in the big towns of Laois such as Portlaoise, Portarlington and Mountmellick. However, the reality of rents is will above the average published figures and there is also a big shortage of rental housing in Laois.