SF Introduce New Bill To 'Prevent Homelessness And Limit Rent Increases'

A new Bill has been introduced by Sinn Féin containing measures to prevent homelessness and limit rent increases.

Speaking outside Leinster House on Tuesday, Sinn Féin TD Eoin Ó Broin said that the Bill was "particularly timely as reports today show that Dublin rents have passed 2007 peak levels".

The Dublin Mid-West TD said that not only was the spike in rents forcing families out of their homes, but also the predications of vulture funds as the Cruise Park families of Tyrrelstown learned last week.

Deputy Ó Broin outlined the emergency legislation needed to give families like those of Cruise Park the protection they need when they are facing forced eviction of this kind.

"Over the last 5 years, housing in Ireland has become an increasingly unstable system with growing numbers relying on a private market that is both unaffordable and unable to meet their needs," Deputy O Broin said.

"As a direct result, many people are struggling desperately to afford rent and many have lost their homes. The state failed these people twice in not regulating rent levels to any degree and not recognising the need to address people at risk of homelessness.

"Rents across the country has risen 10% in a year and Dublin rents have now surpassed 2007 peak levels. The risk of rent uncertainty is greater now than ever before. Rent might increase by 10%, but people wages will not.

"This is borne out by the nearly 6,000 people sleeping every night in B&B’s, hostels and hotel rooms because they have nowhere to call a home. Hundreds sleep rough on the floor of night cafes. Many more invisible homeless sleep in abandoned buildings, dark street corners or on the sofas or floors of a friend or relative. At least 1,800 of our homeless are children; children who must get up, go to school and learn about life through the prism of desperate need, isolation, and insecurity.

"Last week, 208 families in Tyrrelstown were informed that their rented accommodation had been bought en masse and that Goldman Sachs required vacant possession of their homes. Some of these families had spent a decade living in these homes and a letter through the door is all it takes to throw them into homelessness. Vulture funds are the new absentee landlords of centuries past. We have seen similar behaviour right across the city and country in past months but not on the scale seen in Tyrrelstown.

"We need emergency legislation creating a compulsory code of conduct for banks and funds, where they are selling buy-to-let properties that are rented. The code of conduct needs to give sitting tenants an extended notice-to-quit period of up to twelve months and first option on becoming tenants in the property if is bought by a new landlord. We also need a legislative change to the mortgage to rent scheme to make it easy for local authorities and housing associations to keep people in family homes facing repossession by banks and property funds."


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