Deputy Thomas Pringle has called the bill on residential tenancies, “the perfect example of Government spin” that still leaves some tenants in danger of eviction.
Deputy Pringle said the bill “is being hailed as the protection for renters during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, extending protections to the 12th of July 2021.
However, he added “What the Minister doesn’t tell you is that it is an opportunity for them to strip rights from many renters in arrears but not affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. A short but dangerous bill.”
Addressing the Dáil today on the Residential Tenancies Bill 2021, Deputy Pringle repeated calls to delete Section 2 of the bill in its entirety.
“Section 2 would amend the Residential Tenancies Act 2020, meaning that while there will be a moratorium on evictions, private renters in arrears could still be evicted.
Deputy Pringle said: “There is either a moratorium on evictions during the pandemic or there is not.”
He said Threshold, the national housing charity, has asked for further consultations to take place before any changes are made, and has said that the Residential Tenancies Act 2020 has been very successful in preventing homelessness and precarity.
Deputy Pringle said: “When a charity dealing with preventing homelessness from the private rental sector tells us that a piece of legislation is working, why would we change it?”
The deputy said: “The rental market was a mess before Covid-19. Rents are unaffordable, people are living in unsuitable, cramped and overcrowded accommodation units and most people experiencing homelessness had been evicted from the private rental sector. Why would you now undo any protections in place for this cohort of renters?”
Deputy Pringle also said Opposition and advocacy agencies have put forward solutions to the housing and rental crisis. “They are just not profit-producing solutions for landlords, REITs and investors,” he said.
Deputy Pringle said: “Why do you continuously ignore the real-life impacts of your policy decisions? Fianna Fáil continue to talk out of both sides of your mouths. The public-facing side says that you are protecting renters during a pandemic and the other side could be saying, ‘Don’t worry, we’ll get rid of those in rent arrears so that you can get new tenants and charge more.’”
He said it was time for Government “to start listening to the Opposition, to the advocacy and civil society groups, and to the many affected by your housing policies that only benefit the few.”