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Monday 18 November 2019

Fianna Fáil pledge to cap rents and help young buyers

Fianna Fáil's Barry Cowen
Fianna Fáil's Barry Cowen

Miriam Donohoe

Fianna Fáil will today pledge to raise the rent supplement allowance as part of a package of measures aimed at ending the current housing crisis.

The party is also proposing the introduction of a cap on rents, to match the average rent for similar properties in the same area.

The document will build on the party's National Housing Roadmap policy, launched in April, which spells out the party's plans on state investment in housing stock.

That plan commits to a housing policy, which includes a savings scheme for first-time buyers if the party is elected.

It proposes to give first-time buyers 25pc of the deposit - to be capped at €10,000 for a couple and €5,000 for a single person over four years.

The scheme will cost €105m a year and will be available to those who are under 40 and first-time buyers. It would not be means-tested.

The proposals are part of a three-prong strategy that will also include special incentives to encourage more people to become "responsible landlords" as a way of releasing more housing stock in the private rental market.

The substantial document will be launched by the party's environment spokesperson Barry Cowen and will have three core strands, it is understood.

They will include interventions on affordability and security of tenure, proposals on dramatically improving the quality of housing stock and incentives to encourage landlords to invest in the sector.

The party is keen to tighten up regulations for landlords and to encourage investment by them in the sector.

A source said the reality is that it will take several years to catch up with demand on housing stock and a way to release more would be if more rental properties of a good standard were made available.


Mr Cowen said last night he planned to "take aim" at the 'tough talker' Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly.

"I have repeatedly attacked him for a lack of urgency in dealing with the crisis. He needs to get the message that press releases don't constitute 'action' on housing."

Fianna Fáil has expressed disquiet over the "scandalous" practice of repeated rent hikes by landlords.

Mr Cowen said Mr Kelly had failed to introduce measures which would tie rent to the rate of inflation in a move that would give tenants certainty in relation to their living costs.

Irish Independent

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