Eviction ban could lead to ‘glut’ of homelessness when it is lifted – Varadkar

The Tánaiste added the Government is weighing up the ‘pros and cons’ of a ban over the winter months
Eviction ban could lead to ‘glut’ of homelessness when it is lifted – Varadkar

By Michelle Devane, PA

Leo Varadkar has said a temporary ban on residential tenancy evictions may lead to a “glut” of homelessness occurring when it ends.

The Tánaiste added the Government is “weighing up” the “pros and cons” of a ban over the winter months, and that he has no “ideological objection” to such a measure.

The Fine Gael leader made the comments in response to calls from Labour leader Ivana Bacik in the Dáil to “immediately” impose an eviction ban in a bid to improve security for private sector renters this winter.

It comes as a new report from national housing charity Threshold found termination of tenancies is the biggest issue facing renters at present.

Mr Varadkar said: “In terms of an eviction ban or a no-fault eviction ban over the winter period, that’s something the government is weighing up at the moment.

“I certainly have no ideological objection to that. We introduced it when I was taoiseach as head of the last government, although that was during the Covid crisis and there were restrictions on movement and the circumstances were different.”

But he said the Government needs to examine “the pros and cons of the policy”.

“The obvious advantage is fewer people losing their homes over the winter period,” he said.

“The obvious disadvantage is that when it ends, you may see a glut of homelessness occurring at that time, which is harder to deal with.

“And indeed it may accelerate the number of landlords leaving the sector and might result in a higher level of homelessness next year.

“And nobody wants to do anything that helps a problem get a bit better for a few months, only to make it much worse in a year’s time. We have to weight it up.”

The Tánaiste added that a ban could only be introduced as “part of a wider response” as Taoiseach Micheál Martin had indicated.

Ms Bacik told the Tánaiste during Leaders’ Questions that a temporary eviction ban was “urgently” needed.

“The fear of termination of tenancy is the biggest fear confronting renters, the fear of eviction. And with over 10,000 people on the homeless list I think we know just how serious that fear is,” the Dublin Bay South TD said.

A report by Threshold published on Thursday found that the most pressing issue facing those renting in the private sector in Ireland is the fear of termination of their tenancies.

The organisation recommended the removal of no-fault evictions from the Residential Tenancies Act.

Ms Bacik added: “Renters are worried they’ll lose their home, they’re worried that they will be evicted from their homes. And we do need to see urgent action from government on this.”

The most recent Government figures show there are now 10,805 people homeless across Ireland.

The Department of Housing’s August report, showed there were 7,585 adults and 3,220 children in emergency accommodation across the country.

This is up from the 7,431 adults and 3,137 children recorded in emergency accommodation in July.

It represents a 32 per cent increase overall compared with a year ago, and child homelessness is up 47 per cent compared with the same time last year.

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