Landlords Face New Penalties But Minister Feels The Heat

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Landlords who evict tenants to carry out renovations and increase rents could soon be inspected under new legislation. A new bill announced by the Housing Minister will make it a criminal offence for landlords to charge over 4% in rent pressure zones.

The Rental Tenancies act also includes a rent register which would publish average prices in certain areas. Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy has accused Fianna Fáil of using the housing and homeless crisis to undermine the confidence and supply agreement.

Reacting to comments made by Fianna Fáil housing spokesman Darragh O’Brien, who accused Mr Murphy and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar of being too elitist to understand the crisis, Mr Murphy said he could not think of a “more useless contribution” to the debate.

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In the Dáil, Sinn Féin have said they will not put down a planned motion of no confidence in the Housing Minister. Mary Lou McDonald says they did not want a potential confidence vote to derail the planned abortion referendum. The Sinn Féin leader says they will re-visit the issue after the vote.

Ms McDonald said: “I can tell you that the issue of a confidence motion will remain in our consideration, but we are not going to move it literally in the mouth of such a critical referendum.”

Many students will become homeless if student accommodation rent hikes go ahead. That’s the warning from Dublin City University students who’ve been protesting outside the Dail this afternoon. The Shanowen Square development is putting prices up by 27% for the next academic year, meaning many students having to pay €9,000.

Labour Party Education spokesperson, Senator Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, has said that the Government should ensure that student accommodation should be included in rent pressure zones.

”The latest rent increases by private student accommodation providers will see privately-owned DCU student accommodation fees rise to over €10,000 for nine months. That is an extortionate amount for students and their families from outside of Dublin to have to pay to secure a safe, suitable home for their time in college.

“These private student housing providers are manipulating students and especially their parents who want to ensure that their children are in good quality accommodation in Dublin.

”At present, these student accommodation units are exempt from rent pressure zone regulations and are beyond the scope of the RTB as they are deemed to be ‘under license’ rather than leased to the renter.These student accommodation providers cannot shirk their responsibilities to the students and the wider community of the Northside of Dublin.”

Elsewhere Fine Gael TD for Dublin North West, Noel Rock, has welcomed the Government’s commitment to rent transparency. Deputy Rock said: ”As a renter myself, I know well the burdens that people of my generation are under when it comes to rental pressures.”

”The measures announced today achieve the thrust of what I set out to achieve with the Rent Transparency Bill 2017 and I am satisfied that the Minister took my points from the Bill on board in forming the new legislation. To this end, I will be withdrawing the Rent Transparency Bill from the Oireachtas.’

”Good foundations were laid through my proposals, and I am delighted to see useful and practical measures put forward by my colleague Minister Murphy. I am hopeful that they will improve things for renters.”

However Richard Boyd Barrett has said the new bill being presented by Eoghan Murphy to the cabinet, dealing with rent increases is “a half-baked and futile exercise in closing the door after the horse has bolted and pointed out that average rents in Dublin City Centre are just under €1900 per month and are pushing €2000 in South County Dublin.