[Sinn Fein]

9th April 2003

Irish Government must address findings of Rent Supplement Report - Morgan

In the Dáil today, Sinn Fein Spokesperson on the Environment and Local Government, Arthur Morgan TD, called on the Irish government to address the findings of the report, `Rent Supplement in the Private Rented Sector' by Threshold and Comhairle.

Deputy Morgan said:

``This report has highlighted the urgent need to tackle the problems which exist in relation to rent supplements. People are being forced out of the private rented sector because of the decision taken by the Minister for Social and Family Affairs to limit the amount of rent in respect of which Health Boards may pay rent supplement and not to allow any rent supplement to be paid in cases where rent exceeds this amount.

``Threshold and Comhairle have found that what is being set as reasonable rent levels by Health Boards is not keeping pace with current market conditions. This is causing huge problems for many tenants who cannot find accommodation within the price range specified by their health board. It is nothing less than an irrational mechanism for restraining landlords from raising rents.

``This report has also confirmed what many of us have been aware of from anecdotal evidence and from representations from constituents - that is the refusal of some landlords to take tenants on rent supplements and the difficulty caused by the requirement for landlords to sign rent supplement forms.

``I commend Threshold and Comhairle for this report, which should have been carried out by the Department of the Environment and Local Government. We now need to see a determined response from the Government to address these issues which are contributing to the growing housing crisis in Ireland."

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