Monday 19 February 2018

Dáil backs Simon Coveney's rental control plan

File Photo: Reuters
File Photo: Reuters

Paul Melia, Niall O'Connor and John Downing

The Dáil tonight backed Simon Coveney's rental control plan.

TDs  voted by 52 to 43 in favour - but there were 25 abstentions, mainly from Fianna Fáil, which effectively allowed the measure to become law.

That Dáil vote means the draft law will go to the Seanad next week for the senators' approval.

Earlier a Fianna Fáil TD became emotional as he raised the plight of the homeless in Dublin.

Galway East deputy Anne Rabbitte voice quivered as she spoke about seeing people lay down their mattresses on Grafton Street.

“Let’s show the heart if at all it can be the moment there are 2,500 children that’s what there is,” she told the Dáil.

During the debate on the Government’s rent strategy, the plight of those currently sleeping rough in Apollo House in Dublin City was raised repeatedly.

Meanwhile landlords have threatened to impose a raft of new charges on tenants in response to the Government’s decision to cap rents in Dublin and Cork.

A group representing 5,000 property owners says they will consider pulling out of State-sponsored rental schemes, impose a charge to collect keys to a unit and oblige tenants to fund letting costs.

In a statement, the Irish Property Owners Association claims its members are “hard-pressed” and “victims of the newest onslaught on the sector”.

The threat comes after Housing Minister Simon Coveney announced a limit whereby landlords could only raise rents by a maximum of 4pc every year in Dublin and Cork, but the measures are likely to be extended to all cities and some commuter belt towns.

The IPOA has sought legal advice, and says that rent controls were deemed unconstitutional in the early 1980s.

“The measures being introduced are so severe that rents will not cover costs and devaluation of property will be significant all adding to the exit of the Investor,” it said.

“It is notable that Government and those demanding change are oblivious to the huge burden that all these measures will have on the tenants and the loss of supply.”

Among the actions include withdrawing from State sponsored rental schemes, introducing a ‘key’ payment at handover, passing on service charges and imposing a registration fee.

It has also threated to introduce car parking fees, passing on letting costs, call out and key replacement costs and asking tenants to contribute towards the cost of the property tax.

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