Laois TD Brian Stanley has highlighted was he says is the housing and rental ‘crisis’ that exists in the county.
Speaking on Sinn Féin’s housing and rental proposal in the Dáil recently, Mr Stanley explained that despite the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, rents continue to rise.
While at the same time, families are ‘trapped’ as they do not qualify to reach the council’s housing waiting list.
He said: “This Government has failed to grasp the scale of the housing and rental crisis.
“It has failed to properly regulate against spiralling rent hikes, whilst failing to deliver affordable rental homes at the scale required in Laois or Offaly.
“Despite Covid, rents in Laois are up 3.4% in the last 12 months, with an average of €754 for a one bedroom and €964 for a 3 bedroom home.
“Offaly has seen an ever sharper increase of 6.6%.’’
“Rents as steep as €1,200 being demanded for a 3 bedroom home in some locations in the constituency.
“Families are being trapped in rental accommodation with spiralling rents. A family of four can’t get on the council housing waiting list if they earn over €528 a week and a couple without children can’t have an income above €504.
“At the same time their income is too low to get a mortgage.
“This is totally unsustainable. Sinn Féin wants to deliver solutions for these workers and their families who are trapped in the middle.’’
He outlined the Sinn Fein plan to tackle the issue.
He said: “The government has no plan for the rental sector. Sinn Féin does. We want to deal with the rental crisis on one hand and secondly to deliver long term affordable homes to buy and rent.
“In government, we would implement an emergency, three-year ban on rent increases.
“In Laois and Offaly, only Graigue-Portarlington, Portlaoise and Tullamore fall under the Municipal District Rent Pressure Zone criteria and even in those areas rents can increase 4.5%.
“This is unsustainable for ordinary working families and it needs to be halted.
“Sinn Féin would introduce a refundable tax credit of 8.5% for tenants in the private rented sector to put a month’s rent back in every renter’s pocket.
“This would take some pressure off renters while we build up our supply of affordable and cost rental.
“Sinn Féin would commit to delivering at least 4,000 affordable and cost rental homes in 2022. There are no cost rental schemes in either Laois or Offaly, and no plans either and that needs to change.
“To solve the housing and rental crisis, political will is needed. Sinn Féin has a plan to reduce rents, and deliver affordable and cost-rental supply.”