The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) have voiced their support for rent freeze legislation due to be debated in the Dáil at 8pm tonight.
The bill, brought by Sinn Féin, outlines that rent would not increase for three years for new and existing tenancies and would give renters an annual tax credit of up to €1,500 for three years.
In a press statement, the USI wrote: “Rent caps in Ireland are now seen by landlords as a target for which they can aspire to increase their rents by year on year.”
“A rent freeze is now essential to ensure that students aren’t extorted any more than they already are. Student accommodation in the main urban areas has reached exorbitantly expensive rates. Students cannot take further increases, 4% or otherwise, as it is becoming a huge barrier to students accessing education.”
“Recently, another city in a very pressurized housing market, Berlin, has passed a rent freeze for five years amongst other measures.”
Fianna Fáil announced this afternoon that they will back the private members’ bill. The current government looks likely to oppose the bill, having consistently resisted the idea of a rent freeze.
Dublin city centre is a designated rent pressure zone, in which rents cannot increase by over 4% per year. However, Sinn Fein’s housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin said in a press statement: “Rents across the State are far too high and rent pressure zones are not working to ensure rental inflation remains within 4%.”
“Renters across the State are paying inflated rents, they are trapped in the rental sector and cannot move because there is nothing affordable to rent or purchase and they cannot save for a deposit,” he said.
The USI are encouraging students to email and tweet their TDs today to ask them to support the bill.
The average rent for a single bed in Dublin city centre is €713, according to property website daft.ie’s most recent report. Last week, a survey found that Dublin was ranked the worst city on Earth in which to find affordable accommodation.