News & Media

Residential Tenancies Bill as published will not address 8% rent increase loophole

19 June 2021

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

Labour housing spokesperson Rebecca Moynihan has said the Government must immediately implement a rent freeze. Despite promises by the Taoiseach to close the 8% increase loophole, the Residential Tenancies Bill as published will not address this issue. Instead, it merely extends protections for those who proactively register as financially impacted. 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. The Residential Tenancies Bill as published by the Government will not address the 8% rent increase loophole, despite the promises made by the Taoiseach to introduce legislation to prevent this from happening. The Government needs to immediately introduce a rent increase now and protect vulnerable renters in the housing system.

“The Bill hasn’t produced what was promised. Instead, it makes exceptions for people experiencing extreme financial impact. What this doesn’t take into account is the many tenants who are already paying an average of €2,000 per month. They cannot afford an 8% increase which ultimately works out at an increase of approx. €160 per month extra for renters. That's an extra €1,920 per year. That is simply unfeasible and unfair.

“Even the numbers registering as being financially impacted are ridiculously low at only 475 to date, as this is a self-declaring process.

“There’s lots of hand wringing from Government about young people and the burden they have borne throughout the past year. Many young people 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 graduates 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.

“This patchwork effort by Government is not helping renters, and shows the ongoing failure to address the core problems of soaring rents and lack of security in their tenancies.

“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.”