News & Media

O’Brien Spinning on Rental Arrears

28 July 2020

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

Fianna Fáil are ‘spinning’ on the issue of rent arrears according to Labour Housing Spokesperson, Senator Rebecca Moynihan.

 

Moynihan was speaking after the publication of a report from the Economic and Social Research Institute examining the impact of Covid-19 on affordability in the private rental sector.

 

Senator Moynihan said

 

“Speaking in the Dáil last week Minister O’Brien said that this report didn’t find a significant issue with rent arrears which is clear Government spin of a report which had yet to be published. Now we have seen the report we know that the authors reached a very different conclusion to the spin put forward by the Minister. 

 

“The report’s authors note that about 70,000 non state supported private renters did not have sufficient income left after paying their housing costs before the Covid crisis that “it is likely that the scale of the COVID-19 shock is such that, the longer the duration of the downturn, the higher the missed payments, and consequently, arrears rate will climb. This likelihood is magnified if the PUP or TWSS payments are withdrawn or are modified such that the effective rates of payment are considerably reduced”. This is a very different conclusion to the Government spin last week. 

 

“Private renters need more support from Government to get through the Covid crisis and unfortunately these supports were not contained within last week’s July stimulus which instead focused on changes to the flawed ‘Help to Buy’ scheme. Minister O’Brien should have extended the ban on evictions and the rent freeze until next January instead of trying to push his flawed rental bill through the Dáil.

 

Moynihan continued:

 

“While there is a data gap in reporting and measuring missed rental payments that needs to be bridged in the future, private renters need more support from Government as they are the group most at risk from losing their homes due to rental arrears.

 

“The emergency measures introduced by the Government prevented the crisis in the rental sector from worsening. However, as they are eased and income supports are cut, homelessness will rise unless the Minister ensures private renters are better supported.