Latest Laois News: Laois Labour Rep calls on all parties to support his party’s Renters’ Rights Bill
Landmark renters’ rights bill would give renters in Laois a break according to Labour Party rep Eoin Barry
Labour representative Eoin Barry has called for cross party support of Labour’s Renters’ Rights bill to give renters a break once and for all. Central to Labour’s proposals to rebuild a fairer Graiguecullen-Portarlington post pandemic, the Renters’ Rights Bill would significantly strengthen renters’ rights across the board, focusing on security of tenure for renters, making the cost of rent affordable in the long term, and ensuring that rented homes are quality homes that renters can make their own.
Eoin Barry said: “Renters in Laois are already struggling with the high cost of living and can often barely afford to make ends meet, yet alone save for a deposit to buy their own home. The Bill being introduced into the Dáil this week by the Labour Party would represent radical change and give people rights that are standard in other European countires. This Bill would deal with three key issues that renters in Laois are experiencing – security of tenure, rents and deposits, and quality of rental accommodation.
“It would make renting a more secure and certain experience, by limiting the situations in which a landlord can end a tenancy. It bans so-called ‘no fault’ evictions as well as removing the grounds which allows a landlord to end a tenancy on the basis that they intend to sell the property within three months. It would change things so that a landlord can only evict for renovations where “no reasonable measures can be taken to maintain the dwelling fit for human habitation”. It also deals with landlords evicting renters to move in their own family member – it would restrict this to just spouses, civil partners or children.
“We know that unaffordable rents are crippling renters in Laois. There are things that need to be dealt with to make renting more affordable for all people – single people, married people, young workers, retired people. It’s clear that we need a broad mix of housing options, including apartments to meet the needs to everyone seeking a home. Single income households are growing and deserve affordable rental options. More than 400,000 people in Ireland live alone, and Labour’s bill would take account of this, in particular by ending the rogue practice of landlords demanding more than one month’s rent for deposits.
“There is a power imbalance between renters and landlords. Landlords can charge what they want with very little transparency expected of them. To redress this imbalance, Labour wants to amend the private residential tenancies register to provide full clarity for renters. This Bill would ensure that full information is included for any dwelling – including the number and duration of previous tenancies, any refurbishment works which may have been undertaken.
“We need this type of transparency in the rental market to allow renters to see what works have been carried out to justify any increases in rent. It would also end the practice of landlords seeking to bypass the rules around rent pressure zones on the basis that there have allegedly been substantial renovations to the property. This Bill would refer all such cases to the Residential Tenancies Board, giving more power to renters. “Affordability and security of tenure must be dealt with, but we need to put renters at the centre of the housing system and ensure that every home for rent is to high standard. Many renters are telling me on the doors that they feel they cannot make the place their own. Rather than bringing along their favourite couch and light fittings, they have to accept the taste of their landlord. Labour’s bill would give renters the right to opt for an unfurnished home, should they wish to do so, for the same rent. This practice is used in many other countries, and allows renters to make their place their home, which is particularly important for long term renters and families. It would have the added benefit of allowing the renter to set up the home to meet their needs, for example emphasising office space if they are able to work from.
“Of course, many renters long to have a pet but unfortunately, it is currently within the gift of individual landlords to allow or ban pets in rented homes which is simply unfair. Pets play a huge role in many people’s lives in providing companionship and emotional support, enhancing overall wellbeing. Labour’s Bill would remove any blanket bans on pet ownership for renters. “Renters need a break. Government needs to realise that people are renting homes, not investment opportunities. The Government’s current misguided policy approach is constricting and deprives so many renters of the opportunity to make their place their own. This Bill would put people at the heart of our housing strategy and give power back to renters and away from landlords.”