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03/08/2021

Laois Offaly voters fear 8% loophole rent hike

Average rents in Louth exceed €1,000 for the first time

Average rents in Louth exceed €1,000 for the first time

Massively escalating rents in Laois and Offaly must be tackled and the Government must should get rid of a loophole that local people fear could see hikes this year, according to local TD Brian Stanley.

The Sinn Féin TD raised the issue in the Dáil where he first raised the red flag over local rent hikes.

“Figures released recently by Daft.ie highlight that rents continue to escalate massively in Laois-Offaly. Despite Covid, rents in Laois went up by 3.4% in the past 12 months while in Offaly they shot up by 6.6%. This comes on top of skyrocketing increases during the previous five years," he said.

He added that Sinn Féin wants to deal with the issue of tenants who face an increase in rent in the region of 8% due to a loophole in new rent legislation.

"This concern has been raised with me by constituents, even those in rent pressure zones, who expect many landlords to take advantage of the loophole in the legislation that currently allows them to increase rent by 8% following the rent freeze during the Covid period.

"Only three municipal districts in Laois–Offaly are designated as rent pressure zones, namely the Portlaoise–Abbeyleix district, the Portarlington–Graiguecullen district, and the Tullamore municipal district in Offaly. The Mountmellick–Borris-in-Ossory district in Laois and the Edenderry and Birr municipal districts in Offaly are not covered. In these areas, it is the Wild West. Landlords are free to raise rents any way they wish. That is no way to provide housing," he said.

The TD said An emergency three-year rent freeze is required to stop rents from escalating further and to ease the significant pressure on low paid workers who are renting.

"Many families, particularly those in precarious employment situations, will simply not be able to meet significant increases," he said.

Dep Stanley added that his party welcomed the decision by the Government to extend the emergency eviction ban until 2022, but argued ban should be extended to all renters, not just those who fall within the limited definition.

He claimed just 475 renters have been able to avail of the Government's Covid-19 rent protections, despite 3,800 being in rent arrears.

"The current legislation is simply not working," he said.

The TD said it is important that to recognise that a period of economic uncertainty is on the card before recovery and people are fully back to work.

"Renters who work in the hospitality sector, for example, face a very uncertain period. Many of them face reduced hours and precarious circumstances. We need to provide protection across the board for renters who have been put in this precarious position through no fault of their own," he said.

The Laois Offay TD added that more houses are needed.

“On a final note, we need more of a supply and everybody knows that. This is not said in support of the nonsense that the Tánaiste came out with last weekend where he was going to magic up 40,000 houses, but we do need increased supply. Increased supply does not automatically translate into reduced rents or house prices. The House does not need to believe me but we can look back at 2006 when we built more than 90,000 houses and rents and the price of houses shot up,” he said.

 

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