People Before Profit TD tells Minister that government housing policy will lead to homelessness and a return to slum landlords and tenement conditions.
Rent Allowance Tenants to protest outside Dail
This morning at Leaders Questions Richard Boyd Barrett TD questioned Minister Quinn on the new rent allowance caps and how they are causing untold hardship to some of the most vulnerable families.
In the public gallery there were tenants from around the city who have been affected by these cuts. At 11.30 rent allowance tenants took part in a protest outside the Dail to show their opposition to the new rent allowance caps.
Last year’s budget brought in new limits to the rent that a tenant on rent allowance can pay to a landlord. For example, in Dublin a tenant with 2 children used to be able to rent a home with a maximum rent of 1100 that was reduced in January to €925.
The government claims this is to force landlords to reduce their rents but in reality it means evictions and insecurity for thousands of families. It is forcing tenants to try and negotiate their rent downwards with their landlords which is extremely difficult when there is still a major demand for rental accommodation in the city.
It the government were serious about forcing landlords to reduce their rents they would introduce rent controls as is the norm across many countries in Europe.
If a tenant is unable to force the landlord to reduce the rent they are then left with no choice but to look for a new home within the limits – almost impossible in some areas of the city and when there is an covert policy of “no rent allowance” amongst many landlords in operation.
This situation is forcing people into homelessness, into overcrowded conditions and is resulting in many parents with young children to move miles away from where their children are in school.
This new rent allowance policy is just one of the many aspects of the housing crisis. There are now 96,000 families on the housing lists across the country. Last year, this government introduced a new social housing policy that means that almost no new council houses will be built and local authorities are relying more and more on rental accommodation to provide social housing support.
Richard Boyd Barrett TD said today that: “It is not an exaggeration to say that the government’s new housing policy and cuts to rent allowance will lead to a new era of homelessness and a return to slum landlords and tenement conditions.
Today in the public gallery there were a number of tenants who are at the coal face of this new housing policy, that sees €0.5 billion go into the pockets of landlords every year while almost no new council houses are being built.
The Labour Party’s election manifesto claimed that they would make Ireland the“best place to grow up and grow old” and instead the young and the elderly are being pushed into squalid, inadequate and insecure housing conditions.
The government may claim that there is no money in the country but they cannot claim that there are no homes. There are now 230,000 empty homes in the country.
Having a roof over your head should be one of the most basic rights for every citizen, instead, under Labour and Fine Gael it is becoming a privilege.
In Ireland in the 70’s there was a very successful Housing Action Campaign that took on slum landlords. We need a campaign like that again that will demand the building of council houses, an end to sub-standard accommodation and the rule of landlords.”