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Government Must Increase Housing for All Targets To Drive Down Rent Prices

13 February 2023

Labour leader and housing spokesperson Ivana Bacik TD has said that the continued exponential increase in rent prices demands serious attention from Government.

Following a Labour motion in Dáil Éireann last week (Thursday, 9th February) which called for an increase in the Housing for All targets to 50,000 new builds annually, Deputy Bacik said affordability is key to ensure that renting can become a sustainable, long-term option.

Deputy Bacik said:

“Rents have more than doubled in the last decade and the increase reported by today shows that rents have jumped 13.7% nationwide in the last year alone.

“We know that unaffordable rents are crippling renters. There are structural things that need to be dealt with to make renting more affordable for all people – single people, married people, young workers, retired people. Building more homes is the primary solution, but Labour has also called for an immediate nationwide rent freeze to give renters a break while more properties come on stream.

“Renters are suffering severely. Wages have not increased 13.7% in the past year, yet landlords are asking hard working people to cough up even more of their income just to keep a roof over their head.

“While cities are still commanding huge rental prices, we are also seeing rents in counties like Laois, Offaly, Clare and Tipperary increasing massively. Unfortunately we know that supply is an issue nationwide, but we are deeply aware of the lack of rental options for many outside of cities and commuter areas. Availability of rental properties is at one of the lowest levels ever – we need Government to invest in building and fast.

“A report published by Threshold in October showed that one in five households are renting now, compared with one in 10 in the 1990s. It’s clear that this trend towards renting will continue to increase and targeted policy measures must be introduced to ensure adequate supply of homes for those who need them.

“As the analysis shows, we need government to commit to increase a broader stock of housing to include suitable cost rental accommodation. As we wait for the supply to come on stream, renters need a rent freeze - it’s the only option available to help those struggling with the almost 14% annual increase expected of them. Rent freezes have been introduced before, and they can be used again.

“Renters include single person households, families, older people. They must have access to affordable, quality accommodation with security of tenure. Yet, we lag behind other countries on protections for renters’ rights; and renters are just expected to put up with this, without any meaningful intervention from government in a rental market that is overcooked. The Daft report today provides further evidence of the need to ensure a mix of housing supply nationwide. We need a far greater sense of urgency from government on taking radical measures to address the housing crisis.”