[Sinn Fein]

4th June 2003

Sinn Féin calls for index linking of rent to control increases

Speaking  following the publication of the Residential Tenancies Bill, Sinn Féin spokesperson  on  the  Environment and Local Government Arthur Morgan criticised Minister Martin Cullen for his failure to address rent regulation in the Bill. Deputy Morgan said

``Tenants  throughout  this  State  have  waited  a long time for the Residential Tenancies  Bill.   And  while  I  welcome  the  fact  that the Bill has now been published  it  is  clear from even an initial reading that it fails to address a number of key issues of concern to tenants in private rented accommodation.  The failure  to  address  rent  regulation  and  issues regarding affordability will seriously  undermine  the  security of tenure provisions contained in this Bill. Sinn  Féin  is  totally  opposed  to  the provision in this Bill that says rents applicable in the private rented sector should be solely dictated by the market. Rent  increases  should  be  index linked and not market driven where demand far exceeds supply.

``The  Government  needs  to  starting  looking  at  the  issue  of  housing in a completely  different  light.  It can no longer be looked at in simply market or economic terms.   We have to look at and address it in social terms.  We need to face  the  reality  that  very  many  people are excluded from either renting or buying  reasonable  quality  affordable  housing  because  successive Government policies have pushed house prices through the roof, making multi-millionaires of greedy speculators and developers at the expensive of ordinary people. ``In the absence of measures to address rent regulation, I do not believe that this Residential Tenancies Bill will bring about a significant improvement in the situation of tenants.''

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