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Sinn Féin are pushing for a rent freeze next week, and asking for Fianna Fáil's help

“The Rent Pressure Zones are not working,” housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin said.

Image: Sam Boal

SINN FÉIN ARE to propose legislation that would put a freeze on rents, and are calling on Fianna Fáil to support the bill given their criticisms of Fine Gael’s record on housing.

Housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin will move the Rent Freeze (Fair Rent) Bill 2019 during private members time next Tuesday.

“The Rent Pressure Zones are not working,” Ó Broin said. “Even if they were, people can no longer afford any level of rent increase.”

Rent Pressure Zones‘ 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. 

Despite this, the government has said that RPZs are working:

That maximum rent increase in 4% a year is working for hundreds of thousands of people who are staying in the same place that they have been renting, medium term or long term, and had it not been for those rent controls, I think those hundreds of thousands of people would have faced very high rent increases by now.

Ó Broin claims that the Bill would ensure that renters would be protected from further rent hikes and “would get a month rent back into their pockets”.

“This government has given tax breaks to developers, landlords and first-time buyers. It is time to give renters a break.”

On 12 November Fianna Fáil Micheál Martin told the Dáil:

“Surely it is now time for the government to consider a rent freeze and compose a rent freeze, given the exorbitant levels of rent that people are facing.”

Varadkar replied to say that “there’s a real concern about the unintended consequences of a rent freeze,” and that it “might cause less new supply” in the rental market.

Today, Ó Broin said: “Next Tuesday Micheál Martin has a chance to put his money where his mouth is and decide if his party is willing to support renters.

“Renters deserve better. All TDs have a chance next Tuesday to give renters a break.”

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