Rising rates highlight urgent need for rent certainty – Ellis

Responding to a report from property website daft.ie today which showed a national increase in rents of 3.9% Sinn Féin TD Dessie Ellis TD urged the government to look again at introducing rent certainty to alleviate pressure on struggling households.
Teachta Ellis said;
“The consequences of these continuous rent increases are not trivial and it affects everyone dependent on the private rental sector for accommodation. This includes middle income working families who cannot afford to save to buy a home, low income families that are paying up to 60% of their disposable income on rent and the students whose number is on the increase every year, with fewer properties available to meet this growth.
“Sinn Féin brought forward a Bill that would have provided rent certainty for landlords and tenants alike and this was rejected by both Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael. This Bill would have linked rent increases and decreases to the Consumer Price Index which would have provided some stability for the market. The government’s housing action plan offers little hope for those in the private rental sector other than a vague pledge to commission a white paper included in the plan.
“The situation is such that many parents have to decide between paying rent and covering increasing back to school costs. In some cases families are being made homeless because of an inability to pay the rising rents or to secure rental accommodation. With 2,000 children now in emergency accommodation it is clear that household poverty is increasing. The government must recognise that rent certainty is key to alleviating pressure on these households.”

Homeowners affected by pyrite getting stung by Local Property Tax

Sinn Féin Junior Spokesperson on Housing, Planning & Local Government Dessie Ellis has highlighted unfair guidelines regarding the Local Property Tax (LPT) which means that some homeowners affected by pyrite are not exempt from the charge.

Revenue is now reviewing claims for pyrite, meaning many homeowners who thought they would be exempt from the charge, may have to pay back LPT of four years, at a cost of up to 1200.

This is as a result of an amendment to the LPT Act in 2015, which means the qualifying criteria for an exemption, on foot of significant pyritic damage, has been changed.

Deputy Ellis said:

“One of my constituents had a certificate to say he was exempt from paying the local property tax because of significant damage to his apartment building in 2013. This month revenue have contacted him and said that due to the change in criteria, his apartment is not exempt from LPT and he needs to back pay it to 2013.

“The reason he was removed from the scheme was his apartment was not on the ground floor. And in the Revenue’s words:

The Department of the environment, community and local government has determined the level of damage that constitutes “significant pyritic damage” and has published the qualifying criteria. Revenue has been advised that such damage generally occurs at ground floor level and that apartments on higher floors are unlikely to meet the criteria.

“My constituent did not have a site visit, so the damage done could not be assessed. The whole nature of pyrite damage is the presence of the mineral in the foundations of a building and it expands to the floors, walls and structures of the whole building.

“It does not stop at the ground floor, even in apartment blocks. The Minister needs now to step in and remove this ludicrous guideline.”