back to latest news

Unaffordable and unfair rental market locking people out of home ownership

06 July 2022

Responding to ESRI’s research warning of impending older person income and housing crisis as more and more people are locked out of home ownership, Labour leader Ivana Bacik said emergency interventions are needed to rebalance the housing market.

Demanding that the Minister consider a Rent to Buy scheme and scale up its cost rental ambitions, Deputy Bacik said government is wasting time on housing as more and more people face the risk of homelessness and poverty.

Deputy Bacik said:

“The ESRI report could not be more clear, we have an impending older person’s housing crisis which has been ignored by government. Renters are among the most insecure people in our housing market, and with more and more people unable to save for a deposit due to extortionate rents, we are staring down the barrel of an economic and social crisis beyond belief.

“The fact is, there is time now to ease the pressure on renters and provide secure affordable housing as people’s income drops in retirement.

“A huge difference can be made quickly for renters through the implementation of Labour’s Renters’ Rights Bill. A key feature of this bill is that it would restrict the grounds for eviction, which would provide greater tenant security. Indeed, the ban on evictions introduced during the pandemic should be reintroduced to help renters who are really struggling with the cost of living crisis. Rents continue to soar, costs of groceries, fuel and basic commodities are increasing and yet wages have remained the same.

“However, in the medium to long term we need a structural rethink of the housing market. The idea of saving additional money for a deposit is simply unthinkable for the majority of renters who are running to stand still.

“A Rent to Buy scheme, as proposed by my colleague Labour housing spokesperson Rebecca Moynihan, would convert rent paid in a property over the course of three years into a deposit for the property that they would then go on to own. It would help struggling renters who simply cannot afford to build up a deposit to get onto the property ladder.

“Many people are struggling, but we simply can’t ask people to pay the price for government mismanagement of the housing crisis into their retirement. We need to support people who want to remain living in Ireland to do so – we must provide secure affordable housing as people retire.”