To follow up on my recent Leaders’ Question to the Taoiseach and my previous questions on the local authority’s never ending waiting list; I put a question to the Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton, of addressing the dire straights privately rented tenants find themselves in.
To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection in view of her acknowledgement of over 4,000 individually renegotiated rent supplement cases, her views that there is a need to examine some sort of rent management, to try and combat the current housing crisis; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
- Maureen O’Sullivan.
R E P L Y
Joan Burton (Minister, Department of Social Protection; Dublin West, Labour)
Fundamentally, the main cause of rising rents is a lack of supply in the market which Government is addressing through the Construction 2020 Strategy and the Social Housing Strategy. The time-lag in terms of ramping up supply to match demand is fuelling an increase in rents, especially in Dublin and the major cities. Policy in relation to rent controls is a matter for my colleague, the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, who is considering a number of policy options in relation to achieving greater rent certainty. The Government’s objective is to achieve stability and sustainability in the market for the benefit of tenants, landlords and society as a whole.
In relation to the rent supplement scheme administered by this Department, over 4,700 claims have been awarded to date in 2015. Officers administering the scheme will continue to provide for flexibility in assessing customers’ accommodation needs through the National Tenancy Sustainment Framework. The Department is also working with Threshold’s Tenancy Sustainment service in the Dublin and Cork city areas where supply is most acute. The primary objective of these initiatives is to ensure a speedy intervention for families at immediate risk of losing their tenancy through rising rents.
I am keeping this matter under review and am satisfied that this flexible approach is the appropriate response at this time which has assisted in excess of 1,500 rent supplement recipients to retain their rented accommodation through increased rent limits.