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24th May 2018 | Housing, Press Releases

Martin: Boom-era building defects risk financially ruining families

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Speaking ahead of this evening’s Dáil debate on the Oireachtas Housing Committee’s “Safe as Houses?” Report into building standards and control, Green Party Deputy Leader Catherine Martin has reiterated her call for financial support for homeowners of defective properties.

Families living in defective buildings are terrified. They are facing bills of up to €30,000 to rectify problems not of their making, that would never have happened if proper regulation was in place, and they are being completely ignored by the Government.

Speaking today, she said: “Families living in defective buildings are terrified. They are facing bills of up to €30,000 to rectify problems not of their making, that would never have happened if proper regulation was in place, and they are being completely ignored by the Government. They know if they go public the value of their properties will be destroyed, putting them in further financial peril. The Government knows this, and is relying on people’s fears to ignore this problem.

This is a public health issue, brought about by an ineffective building control regime exploited by cowboy builders through the boom.

“This is not right and it is not just. Every time I have raised this issue with the Taoiseach and members of the Government, it has been dismissed as being entirely a matter between private parties to a private contract. But this is a public health issue, brought about by an ineffective building control regime exploited by cowboy builders through the boom. Will it take a tragedy to occur, or lives to be lost, before the Government takes action here?

“Practical reliefs for people living in substandard and defective homes need to be considered in the upcoming budget. These can be simple and practical measures like property tax relief or expanding VAT relief on works, which will put minimal cost to the exchequer – particularly as the Government already provides similar tax reliefs to developers.

“These people are not looking for a handout. They are asking for practical information and assistance. They are asking not be abandoned by their country. Government cannot continue to ignore them.

“The Green Party motion on Building Standards and Homeowner Protection passed by the Dáil last year and the “Safe as Houses?” Report we are debating today outline the measures Government must take. Inaction is no longer an option.”