Fianna Fáil Press Office
Cllr Catherine Ardagh
Dublin South Central

01 February 2016

Govt policies putting further pressure on private rental market – Ardagh

Fianna Fáil candidate for Dublin South Central Cllr Catherine Ardagh says the housing policies being pursued by Minister Alan Kelly and the current government will exacerbate the housing emergency in the months ahead.

Cllr Ardagh pointed out that social housing lists in Dublin City and South Dublin had soared under the Fine Gael/Labour government. In Dublin City there was an increase of 330% while in South Dublin there was an increase of 107% in people on the social housing lists from 2011 to 2015. “Minister Kelly’s social housing strategy is almost entirely reliant on leasing housing units from the lower end of the private rental market.

“Everyone understands that increasing the supply of new homes, both social and private, is the key to solving the housing crisis. However Minister Kelly is refusing to increase the supply of new build homes. Instead he is focusing on taking properties away from the private rental market in order to massage his figures in advance of the election,” explained Cllr Ardagh.

“This refusal comes at a time when the latest report from the Simon Community shows that 95% of properties available to rent are priced beyond the reach of people depending on state rent supports for their housing. 72% of the new social housing units made available this year were leased or bought from the private market. This is a misguided strategy as it is decreasing the number of homes available to rent on the private market which is exacerbating the housing supply problem.

“Between 2007-2010, Fianna Fáil built 1,659 new social housing units in Dublin City local authority, at a time when there were 4,885 households on the social housing waiting list. In stark contrast, Fine Gael and Labour all but halted the social housing programme, building a mere 227 units in Dublin City between 2011 and the end of 2014. This has led to a surge of people on the social housing list with over 21,000 households now in need of social housing, or close to 50,000 individuals according to the most recent figures.

“Minister Kelly is squeezing housing supply in the private market, especially at the lower end of the private rental market. This is making it harder for people to find suitable accommodation which is in turn leading to further rent increases. Ultimately it is forcing more people onto housing waiting lists.

“Minister Kelly took almost 10,000 homes out of the private housing market in 2015 alone. To put this into perspective, there were fewer than 10,000 new homes constructed in the private market in 2015.

“The only new homes made available to the market under the Minister’s strategy are the paltry 28 new social homes that were constructed by Local Authorities, the 218 new homes completed by voluntary housing associations and the 2,700 local authority homes that were refurbished after years of inaction.

“By not enhancing local authority housing stock, this short-term strategy is building up future supply problems as well as exacerbating the housing supply at present in the private rental market,” warned Cllr Ardagh.

– Ends –