'Wake-up call' | 

Eoin O'Broin calls for 'urgent action' to tackle housing crisis as evictions double

Figures released to Deputy Ó Broin by the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) show that 1,781 tenants were served with eviction notices between April and June of this year – more than double the amount in the same timeframe last year (841).

Builders walk by the tent of a homeless person in Dublin.

A general view of tents belonging to homeless people in front of a newly constructed office block on Dublin's Grand Canal.© PA

Eoin Ó Broin TD. Picture by Gareth Chaney/Collins

Eoghan MoloneyIndependent.ie

The Government must take “urgent action” to tackle a crisis in the private rental sector as more renters are being served with eviction notices during a housing crisis, Sinn Féin housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin has said.

Figures released to Deputy Ó Broin by the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) show that 1,781 tenants were served with eviction notices between April and June of this year – more than double the amount in the same timeframe last year (841).

In a column published in The Irish Examiner today, Mr Ó Broin said that “a chronic undersupply of social housing coupled with the growing of single property private landlords exiting the market is driving the homelessness crisis”.

Eoin Ó Broin TD. Picture by Gareth Chaney/Collins

“Even seasoned analysts of our housing crisis were surprised by the most recent jump [in eviction notices]. And the fear is that this trend is going to continue as more and more landlords exit the market,” Mr Ó Broin said.

According to the RTB, high property prices are currently seeing many landlords exit the market to sell their properties, meaning there are less rental properties in an already squeezed market.

The Deputy said there’s also “a growing resentment” among single property landlords at the “sweetheart tax deals gifted to build-to-rent institutional investors who pay no tax on their rent roll or capital gains”.

“With rents at record levels, there is no doubt that the majority of landlords are making a very significant profit on their investments. However, if single property landlords continue to exit the market while Government fails to provide an adequate supply of social housing, then homelessness will continue to rise.

“Indeed, the shrinking of the private rental sector coupled with Government failures on social, affordable and student accommodation explains the escalating housing crises across all these sectors,” Mr Ó Broin said.

This comes as the latest homelessness figures show 10,492 people without homes in the country - just shy of the peak of the homelessness crisis in 2019 when 10,514 were declared homeless.

“Of course, these figures don’t reflect the true level of homelessness. They don't include rough sleepers, women and children in Tusla-funded domestic violence refugees or men and women in hostels not funded by the state.

“They also don’t include over 3,000 adults and children with leave to remain but are unable to leave Direct Provision because of the shortage of housing.

“The figures also don’t include the unknown number of people living with family and friends in overcrowded and unsuitable accommodation or sofa surfing.

“Whatever way you count it, the homelessness crisis has never been as bad, and it is going to get worse,” Deputy Ó Broin said.

A general view of tents belonging to homeless people in front of a newly constructed office block on Dublin's Grand Canal.© PA

The Sinn Féin TD said the latest RTB eviction notice figures must be a “wake-up call. Inaction is no longer acceptable”. He confirmed he has written to Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien urging him to “convene an urgent meeting to address the crisis in the private rental sector”.

“That meeting should involve tenant and landlord representative bodies such as Threshold and the IPOA/IPAV. The RTB should be in attendance as well as opposition housing spokespersons. The purpose of the meeting should be to agree on a plan to respond to the deepening crisis in the private rental sector”.

Mr Ó Broin said that all actions, including a temporary eviction ban into homelessness, reform of tax in the sector and the increased use of vacant properties must be considered.

“We need radical action and we need it now,” Deputy Ó Broin said.


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