Recently, a Bill from the opposition was introduced that would ban any increases in rental prices for three years. While the Green Party agrees that more should be done to protect renters, the recent government amendments to the Residential Tenancies Act effectively prevent evictions for people directly impacted by COVID19 until January 2021.
As the Green Party’s Housing Spokesperson, I have requested that the Minister keep the impact of COVID-19 on renters under review and consider an extension to the current protections under the Residential Tenancies Act so that no person adversely impacted by the pandemic associated public health restrictions can be evicted or have their rent increased.
The ongoing housing crisis will not be fixed without a sustainable and thorough Government response. To this end, the Green Party has secured gains for tenants in the Programme for Government.
Of these, the establishment of a commission on housing is urgently needed to examine issues such as tenure, standards, sustainability and quality-of-life in the provision of housing. If this is not created soon, solutions will not be procured during the lifetime of this Government. Having raised this with the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, I have been assured that the Minister is working on the establishment of such a commission.
The Strategic Housing Development (SHD) scheme is inflating rental costs and therefore is not sustainable and does not benefit communities or meet current development plan guidelines. When working on the Programme for Government, the Green Party highlighted many issues with the SHD scheme, not least the fact that SHDs can unfairly circumvent Local Authority development plans.
The Minister has given a firm commitment that SHDs will not be extended beyond the planned expiry date in 2021. We welcome this commitment; however, we have called on the Minister and his Department to oblige An Bord Pleanála to comply with local, regional and national development plans, which are currently being side lined to the detriment of local communities and sustainable development.
Francis Noel Duffy TD
Green Party Spokesperson for Housing
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