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Dáil passes Sinn Féin bill proposing immediate rent freeze

The Rent Freeze (Fair Rent) Bill 2019 was brought forward by Sinn Féin’s Eoin Ó Broin.

Image: Mark Stedman via RollingNews.ie

A SINN FÉIN bill proposing a rent freeze has passed the second stage in the Dáil.

The Rent Freeze (Fair Rent) Bill 2019 was brought forward by Sinn Féin’s housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin. It will now move onto committee stage. 

Speaking on Tuesday, Ó Broin said this legislation was needed as it was clear “rents are completely out of control”. 

“It it time to give renters a break,” he said.

“[The bill] seeks to put a months rent back in every renters pocket through a refundable tax credit and to stop rents from increasing. Fine Gael have given tax breaks to just about everybody else.

The private sector can not and will not deliver affordable rental accommodation. This can only be done with public housing on public land… So let’s roll up out sleeves, work together and give renters the early Christmas present they rightly deserve.

Ó Broin previously said that the current system of Rent Pressure Zones (RPZs) are “not working”. 

RPZs are designated areas around the country with particularly high rents that are limited to a maximum of 4% rent increases per year for new and existing tenancies. 

Since RPZs were introduced in December 2016, rents have continued to grow dramatically. The average rent at the moment is €373 higher per month than the previous peak in 2008 and almost €660 higher than the lowest price in late 2011. 

On Tuesday, Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy attacked Fianna Fáil for backing Sinn Féin’s bill, describing it as “reckless” and said there was no evidence it would succeed.

He said an opening of the bill shows it was “immediately unconstitutional”. 

“Where is the evidence it would work? Where is the evidence it is constitutional?” he asked. 

It does nothing but negative to what tenants actually need.

He said experts had warned against rent freezes in Berlin and those warnings were borne out. Murphy said experts here also warned against the freeze. 

The minister did acknowledge, however, that rents are still “too high” and “unsustainably high”. 

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