Today in the Dáil, Ruth Coppinger TD moved the Anti-Evictions Bill 2016 at first stage, on behalf of AAA-PBP. The Bill will be voted on in Private Members’ Time on the Dáil’s first day back on 17th January.
The Bill will ban what Threshold have called ‘dubious evictions’ where landlords claim to be selling a property to evict tenants but often move new tenants in on higher rents. This is a major factor in the increase in homelessness. The Bill would mean that rented properties being sold by landlords or banks would leave tenants in place.
The Bill also focuses on the increase in landlords claiming to need a property to move a family member in. Again many of these evictions are dubious. The Bill would mean that landlords would have to pay compensation to tenants whose lease they are breaking.
Both these measures would remove the incentive for landlords to use these pretences to evict tenants to increase rent on new tenants.
Currently, tenants can be evicted after 4 years meaning that long-term security of tenure doesn’t exist. The Bill would make leases indefinite after two months occupancy and increase the notice period for long term tenants to a year.
Ruth Coppinger TD said “Today in the Dáil, we’ve seen tenants being ignored while Fianna Fail and Fine Gael tried to organise a backroom deal to agree how much landlords can rip them off by and not even touch the major crisis in the rented sector where people are priced out of the market and becoming homeless.
“We will be challenging TDs from Fianna Fail and Fine Gael to public debates in constituencies on the Bill so that they can defend their position and argue against it in front of people who would benefit from it.
“Our Anti-Evictions Bill will stem the tide of one of the biggest causes of homeless – namely tenants being evicted when a property is put up for sale by landlords, banks and receivers. In many cases this is simply a measure to get move tenants out to replace them with new tenants on higher rents.
“Threshold have highlighted this. In my constituency, 35% of the homeless cases we are dealing with are people who have been forced to move out because properties are being sold or apparently needed for family members. There are 6747 people homeless across the country including 2470 children, in Dublin so far this year 736 families including 1389 children became homeless – how many of them would still have a home for Christmas if the government had taken action on this rather than watching the crisis unfold and doing nothing.”
Mick Barry TD for Cork North Central said “Free marketers in government and Fianna Fail are more worried about the bank balances of landlords rather than those renting. They will argue that this Bill goes too far and will drive landlords out of the market.
“But the facts don’t fit their ideology. Landlords are raking in profits while people are being put on the streets. CSO figures show that last year over €2billion in pure profit was made by landlords, why would they leave the market? In fact, the number of landlords has actually increased by 4,283 in the last year according to the RTB.
“By banning the ability of landlords to use loopholes to make people homeless to line their pockets this Bill will simply be a first step in trying to level the playing field and give tenants more rights.”
Paul Murphy TD said “Tenants need to feel secure in properties and not at the whim of a landlord’s greed. We want to give tenants security by making leases indefinite after 2 months whereas at the minute you can be evicted for no reason within the first six months or then at the end of 4 years.
“These measures need to be linked to real rent controls which the government and neo-liberals have rejected every step of the way. We need to say that the right of people to a home comes before the rights of landlords to increase their wealth.”