News & Media

Rent freeze must be implemented immediately

28 May 2021

Statement by Senator Rebecca Moynihan
Seanad Leader and spokesperson on Housing, Local Government and Heritage

The Minister needs to intervene immediately and apply a rent freeze until there rents continue to fall, said Labour Housing spokesperson Rebecca Moynihan. The loophole in the legislation that a double rent increase could be applied in July further highlights a Government totally out of touch with ordinary people. With a housing crisis continuing to bubble and boil, rent freezes must be left in place until there is a sustained increase in supply of housing leading to consistent falls in rents.

Senator Moynihan said:

“Government need to immediately intervene and halt this double hike. Renters need a break. We need a rent freeze applied immediately until there’s enough houses built to catch up with the demand that is out there. Landlords cannot benefit to the tune of an 8% increase at a time when renters have experienced massive uncertainty due to the impact of the pandemic.

“There’s lots of hand wringing from Government about young people and the burden they have borne throughout the past year. Many young workers are currently paying hand over fist for box rooms and news that they would be faced with an 8% increase will surely make up their minds to leave this country without delay. Dublin accounts for almost half of all new graduate jobs but most of these workers simply cannot afford to pay high Dublin rents as it is. This is unsustainable, destroying quality of life and will lead to another generation emigration.

“There’s no time to delay on this. We’ve seen the power of the State to intervene during a crisis to protect people and emergency powers must be used now to stop landlords profiteering on renters. Labour froze rents before, and it can be done again if there is political will to do so. Rent caps need to be used until more homes are built and the housing crisis is resolved.

“We need a mix of supply in our housing market and there are many people who want to rent long-term, but for reasons just like this, it is not a viable option. Government need to wake up to the reality that not everyone can afford to or want to buy their home. Many want an option of secure, long-term renting where they can make the place their own. To achieve this, we need to close off any potential loopholes like the one exposed today.

“Over the last five years. The drive from Fine Gael with Fianna Fáil’s support has allowed a speculator, private-led housing and renting model become dominant and it has failed ordinary people. The vicious housing market needs to be reined in once and for all. Renters need a break.”