Is freezing rents for 3 years the solution?

22 April 2020
By Elaine Murphy

First things first…

We would love to live in houses like this…
… with interiors like this

…but the reality is that the average Irish rent is €1,372 in Cork. Well, that was the case according to in their Nov 2019 figures, which charted record highs (higher even than during the Celtic Tiger years!). However, if we fast forward a few months to April 2020 we are now in a sudden recession, and renters and landlords alike are feeling the pinch.

Today a Cork TD issued a statement headed We need to freeze rents for three years – says TD. Is this a solution, what are the details?

Here is the statement

Sinn Féin’s Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire has reiterated his party’s call for an emergency rent reduction and freeze following the publication of the latest report from the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) which shows that rents in Cork have increased by 6.8%.

Donnchadh O Laoghaire TD (Sinn Fein, Cork South Central)

Mr Ó Laoghaire described the Government’s Rent Pressure Zone policy as a clear failure with the report showing that rents have increased by more than 4% in every county in the state.

Ó Laoghaire said;

“The Quarter4 Residential Tenancies Board rent index shows rents in Cork continuing to rise despite the Government spin.

“This is a very serious situation for workers and families in Cork. Sky-rocketing rents are a real financial strain on low and middle income workers. This was the case before the COVID-19 crisis and the surge in unemployment.

“The government’s rent pressure zone policy is a failure. The increase in Cork is significantly above the 4% cap. We have had three years of spin instead of real results for renters. It is time for Minister Murphy to acknowledge that his Rent Pressure Zone policy doesn’t work. We now need something that will work.

“Renters in Cork need a break and they need results. We need the current rent freeze to be extended and in Budget 2021, a month’s rent should be put back into the pocket of every renter through a refundable tax credit.”

The Cork South Central TD also called on Minister Murphy immediately to meet with opposition politicians and representatives from tenants, landlords and banks.

“A plan must be put in place to deal with the rent arrears debt burden that will arise during the COVID-19 restrictions”, he said.

Related links: Check out this piece from well known Irish Economist David McWilliams

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