News & Media

Backtracking on Eviction Ban by Housing Minister will increase homelessness

12 July 2020

Statement by Senator Rebecca Moynihan
Spokesperson on Housing, Local Government and Heritage

Despite commitments in the Dáil this week towards extending the rent freeze and eviction ban, Labour Housing spokesperson Rebecca Moynihan said reports this weekend indicate that Government parties will quickly move to weaken the measure, and this will directly result in an increase in homelessness.

Senator Moynihan said:

"Speaking on a Dáil debate on a Labour party motion calling for the extension of the Covid-19 rent freeze and ban on evictions, the new Fianna Fáil Minister for Housing said he would write to the Health Minister before making a decision. The fate of tens of thousands of renters now rests with two new Fianna Fáil Ministers.

"Darragh O'Brien also said last month that there should be no rent increases for another three months. He is on the record clearly saying what his view is - that the ban on evictions and rent rises should be extended to October.

"The ban on evictions will expire in 8 days time. We've seen that the number of people presenting into homelessness has dramatically fallen over the last three months. If the measures aren't extended, it's clear homelessness will start rising again.

"The new government has this weekend been laying the groundwork to row back from the rent control and eviction ban, with a report in the Sunday Times saying the regulations are 'untenable' and the Irish Independent on Saturday saying it may not be 'legally possible'.

"What is untenable is going back to a policy that had clearly failed. Ireland needs to radically change our law on evictions as it is the driving force behind homelessness. Commercial tenants have more rights than people living in rented homes. Labour has also called for stronger limits on rent increases for four years, but now FF, FG and Greens seem to be going back to a private market led solution to housing that we know has failed.

"It would be a bad signal to young voters that one of the first major moves of the new government is to throw them back to the wolves in the private rented market. We know rent freezes are constitutionally possible, and we know we can change the law on evictions. What is missing is political will."