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TDs to debate Bill on banning rent increases for three years

Since the end of July, there has been a ban on evicting people who are not able to pay their rent because of the pandemic.

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Sinn Fein’s Eoin O Broin (Niall Carson/PA)

Sinn Fein’s Eoin O Broin (Niall Carson/PA)

Sinn Fein’s Eoin O Broin (Niall Carson/PA)

Sinn Fein is tabling a Bill next week that would ban future rent increases for three years.

The party said the Ban on Rent Increases Bill would also allow rent to fall during the same period.

A temporary ban on evictions and rent increases was first introduced during the pandemic.

Since the end of July, there has been a ban on evicting people who are not able to pay their rent because of the pandemic.

The legislation, which is in place until January, also bans increases for renters receiving the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) or the wage subsidy scheme.

Eoin O Broin, Sinn Fein’s housing spokesman, called for Fianna Fail and the Green party to back the Bill.

The latest Daft.ie rent report in June showed that average new rents across the state were 1,412 euro per month, while in Dublin average new rents were 2,030 euro per month.

This represents an annual increase of 1% and 0.2% compared with 2019.

“While the rate annually has slowed down, rents are still rising year on year,” Mr O Broin added.

“This was a problem before Covid-19, but with people on PUP payments, on Wage Subsidy Schemes, or struggling with increased cost of living, it’s time for government to take action.

“The last Private Member’s Bill that we had passed was a rent freeze Bill that  was passed with the support of Fianna Fail and the Green party.

“This Bill is slightly different in that it bans rent increases and it would allow rents to fall, and we would urge all TDs that are serious about helping renters to support the Bill.”

He pointed to an ESRI report published on Thursday which found that commuting longer distances for cheaper rental properties can harm mental health.

“High rents are forcing working people make to a Hobson’s choice of either very long commutes for cheaper rental areas, or high rents and a lower standard of living,” he added.

He said the Bill would mean landlords could not increase rents for three years.

“Any professional landlord running a professional business is able to make a return on current rents,” he added.

“The measures we are proposing provides certainty and stability.”

“We are willing to go to the courts to stand by renters. While we believe this Bill is constitutional, if that wasn’t the case or was challenged, we would defend that challenge.”

PA