Rising rents in Louth unacceptable – Cllr Joanna Byrne

Sinn Féin Councillor Joanna Byrne has slammed the Government over continuing rising rents in Louth and has called on all Louth TDs to support the progression of Sinn Féin’s Rent Freeze Bill.

Cllr Byrne said,

“The latest quarterly data from the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) shows that rents have increased another 1.3% in Louth with the average rent in the county now reaching €1,010 per month, an increase of 6.8% on this time last year.

“The rents in Drogheda are exceeding €1,100 significantly higher than the northern or mid parts of the county. Unlike the Minister who is living in cloud cuckoo land, I know many renters in Drogheda struggling to meet rent payments that are far in excess of these figures.”

The RTB report contains facts which Cllr Byrne describes as ‘startling’:

  • The average rent across the rest of the State is now €1,243 per month, an increase of 8% on last year.
  • The average rent is now over €1,000 euro in seven counties across the State.

Cllr Byrne asked “When is enough, enough? There is nothing stable about the private rented sector for most tenants and the insistence of the Minister with responsibility for the sector claiming otherwise is not just delusional but worrying. Rent pressure zones are not working. Rents are too high and are continuing to rise even in areas like Drogheda where tenants are supposedly guarded by these RPZ’s.

“We need to reduce and freeze rents immediately. The Sinn Féin bill passed second stage in the Dáil last Thursday with huge support and must be progressed and I am calling on all TDs in Louth to step up, do the right thing by your constituents and support its progression.

“We also need to see investment in affordable cost rental projects to offer renters long term solutions”

Adams urges Louth support for Raise the Roof

Sinn Féin TD for Louth Gerry Adams has urged people from Louth to support the ‘Raise the Roof’ demonstration which will take place at Leinster House on 3rd October at 12.30pm.

Gerry Adams said;

“The Raise the Roof rally unites political parties, trade unions, student’s unions, housing agencies, community and campaign groups who share the same aim of demanding action from the Government on the housing crisis.

“In the past week we saw how Fianna Fáil TDs, including Declan Breathnach, sided with the Government and private developers against those in housing need.

“They failed to support the Sinn Féin motion of no confidence in Minister Eoghan Murphy, a Minister who has presided over unprecedented levels of homelessness and who consistently refuses to regulate the rental market.

“Sinn Féin will publish its alternative Budget on Tuesday 2nd October.  In it we have budgeted for a 3 year rent freeze and tax relief for of 8.3% per annum for renters for 3 years.  This amounts to one month’s rent back per year.

“In Louth the average rent price was €905 in 2017.  This year it has risen to €983 per month.  People in Louth are on a treadmill of working simply to fill the coffers of their landlord.

“Our proposals are fully costed.  Sinn Féin has the political will to deliver for people who are struggling, people currently locked out of the housing market.

“I will be joined at Raise the Roof by Dundalk councillors Ruairí Ó Murchú and Anne Campbell.”

Daft report confirms that Government has no plan, no clue – Munster

Sinn Féin TD Imelda Munster, has said that the latest Daft report has only confirmed that which we all knew; “rents have spiralled out of control and show no signs of slowing down”.

Teachta Munster said that it was clear that the meagre government efforts to date have had no impact and it was time for Minister Eoghan Murphy and the government to take strong, definitive action to address the housing situation which has descended far past crisis point.

Rents have risen 12.4% in a year, with the average rent now standing at €1,304. Limerick City and Waterford city has seen rises of 20% since last year.

The Louth and East Meath TD said:

“The Government’s reliance on the private sector to solve the housing crisis and the Minister’s light touch philosophy has had no impact.

“The Rent Pressure Zones were unambitious to begin with and demonstrated the reluctance of Fine Gael to interfere with a market that is dysfunctional at best, fundamentally broken at worst. Similarly, the anaemic level of construction of social and affordable housing is simply driving people towards that private sector market, driving up rents for all.

“Rent certainty, the Focus Ireland amendment that would keep families in their homes, an ambitious and necessary investment in social and affordable housing; these are the policy objectives that the government would be better served in pursuing. Media appearances telling the people that it’s not as bad as it looks are insulting and an embarrassing indication that the government truly doesn’t know how bad the housing emergency has become.

“It is clear that this government, backed to the hilt by their partners in Fianna Fáil, is doing more harm than good when it comes to the housing crisis. They have no plan and it seems they haven’t a clue either.”

Dundalk exclusion from Rent Pressure Zone compounds student accommodation crisis – Munster

Sinn Féin TD for Louth and East Meath Imelda Munster has hit out at government for their failure to provide protections for tenants who are living in student accommodation across the state.

Deputy Munster was speaking on Sinn Féin’s private members’ bill which called for student-specific accommodation to be included under the Residential Tenancies Act to ensure that student accommodation be included in rent pressure zones and have protections under the Residential Tenancies Board.

Deputy Munster said:

“Student specific accommodation is expensive. Students and their parents across the state are under serious financial pressure due to the cost of third level education under this government.”

“Dundalk is an example of the lack of regulation over student accommodation. There are over 5000 students attending Dundalk IT. Students in the county are under pressure to find affordable accommodation, and there are no protections forthcoming for government regarding tenancy rights and rent control.”

“This government has failed to manage the private rental sector, which is now in a state of chaos. The only protection that is in place, which is clearly failing to address the problem of rent hikes, is the rent pressure zones, and the Minister has refused to include Dundalk in that initiative.”

“Rents in Louth increased again last year by 13.5%, which shows that the market is a basket-case, and this is by design of the government.”

“Our bill aimed to protect students, a vulnerable group, from greedy landlords. The government refused to support it. This is another indication of their complete disinterest in the state’s housing crisis.”

Adams calls for decent rents for students

Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams has called on the government to support a Sinn Féin Bill that will provide protection for students in student accommodation by bringing them under the Residential Tenancies Act and give them access to the Residential Tenancies Board.

Speaking in the Dáil on Tuesday evening the Louth TD highlighted the difficulties faced by students attending the Dundalk Institute of Technology.

Gerry Adams said:

“The Residential Tenancies (Student Rents, Rights and Protections) Bill 2018 is a comprehensive piece of legislation that will give students in student accommodation the protection of the Residential Tenancies Act. It will allow students access to the Residential Tenancies Board and ensure that they are included in the rent pressure zones.

“If the Dáil really believes in access to education at all levels then all obstacles must be removed so that our young people, in particular, can reach their full potential and that includes student accommodation with decent rents and conditions.

“In my own constituency of Louth USI representatives at DkIT tell me that the lack of affordable accommodation is affecting the numbers able to take up courses. Accommodation and its cost can also badly impact on educational attainment and course completion rates.

“In its 2017 student accommodation report, Cushman & Wakefield reported that there were sixty thousand students chasing thirty-five thousand spaces. It is estimated that this number will increase to almost seventy thousand students looking accommodation in the next 5 years.

“The reality is that there is not adequate student accommodation, especially in border constituencies like Louth.

“A year ago there were 11 student accommodation projects under construction, ten of these are being built by private developers. This means that this is seen as an opportunity for profit.

“For students it is a nightmare as they try to find somewhere to stay and pay exorbitant rents. Most students at DKIT can expect their current student accommodation to cost almost 500 euro a month, with many paying significantly more than that. This is generally for a single room.

“We know that in Dublin the costs are even greater with some students being expected to pay over 900 euro a month in rents. The Residential Tenancies (Student Rents, Rights and Protections) Bill 2018 is one way of tackling this. It does what it says on the tin. It’s about including student licences under the provisions of the Residential Tenancies Act.

“This ensures that properties in the affected areas are covered by the rent pressure zones and provides access for those living in student properties to the Residential Tenancies Board. It’s a common sense proposal that has been welcomed by student’s groups. It can assist students to stay in full time education by ensuring that they are not being charged exorbitant rents”.