April 11, 2013
Sinn Fein Housing spokesperson Dessie Ellis TD has blasted the Minister for Social Protection for setting unrealistic limits for rent supplement. He made his comments as it was announced by the CSO that residential rents have increased 3% in the past year.
Deputy Ellis said;
“In Budget 2012 Minister Burton increased the contribution for tenants on Rent Supplement by 25%. These are people who were already struggling to make ends meet and have nothing more to give. The move put many at risk of homelessness and undoubtedly forced many out of their homes also.
“Now the people on Rent Supplement are being sent letters telling them that their rent is too high and that they must get it lowered. They are told to renegotiate or find new accommodation.
“Is the Minister living on a different planet? Rents have continually gone up as this government refuses to deliver housing.
“Rents have risen 3% in the last year. Landlords have their pick of tenants and can ask what they want for their properties. The ordinary tenant has no power or ability to drive a lowering of rents.
“Minister Burton must change how Rent Supplement is administered so that the department negotiates rents with landlords and drive a better deal for tenants and the public purse.
“Penalising the poorest tenants in the country for high rents is not acceptable in the short term though and limits must be revised to address the reality of rents on the ground.”