A NATIONWIDE two-year freeze on rents and evictions would go some way to solving the housing crisis, a city councillor has claimed.
Thomas Gould (SF) said he is aware of people in Cork city that are giving landlords unreceipted payments just to keep their homes despite a 4% cap on increases set by the Government under Rent Pressure Zones (PRZ).
RPZs were established by former Housing Minister Simon Coveney to cap rent increases in the city and some suburbs.
However, Mr Gould said landlords in Cork have found ways to get around RPZs by declaring the property is going up for sale or renovations need to be done in order to evict tenants.
He said a blanket ban on rent increases and evictions is a necessary measure to allow the housing list to be addressed.
Over 5,500 people are on Cork City Council’s housing list with 445 people in emergency accommodation. Average monthly rents in the city have gone above €1,200.
There are also concerns not enough housing units are being built in the city amid several recent development announcements along the docklands that will lead to thousands of jobs.
“I think there should be an immediate rent freeze across the country, inside and outside the rent pressure zones. If you gave people a two to three-year certainty on rent people could plan their lives,” Mr Gould said.
“You would need to couple that with legislation that nobody would be put out of their homes for the next two years.
“It would take the pressure off the Government and the homeless services and give people stability. I know there are people paying landlords under the table for properties outside of what the official rent is. People are terrified of losing their homes and their rent going up.
“The way rents are going is unsustainable and people are being asked to leave their homes because landlords are selling them and weeks later the property is back up on rental websites at an increased site.
“This is a short-term measure that would allow breathing space for renters and the Government,” Mr Gould added.