28 Jun 2022

Cowen calls on Simon Coveney to provide better rental accommodation plan

Barry Cowen

Barry Cowen calls on Coveney to devise better plan

Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Housing Barry Cowen says Minister Simon Coveney needs to come forward with a robust plan to boost the supply of rental accommodation. Deputy Cowen made the comments following the publication of the latest Daft report which shows that average rent levels across the country have reached historic peaks. Rent prices have increased by an average of 13.5% across the country, and an average of 12.4% in Offaly.

“While the new rent cap legislation is a step in the right direction, much more still needs to be done to repair the dysfunctional housing market and ramp up new construction of rental and owner occupier units," Cowen remarked.

“Minister Coveney needs to come forward with a comprehensive integrated reform package to moderate excessive rental inflation and increase the supply of affordable rental properties. The main reason rents are so high around the country is due to the record low levels of supply in the rental market, which in turn comes about as a result of historically low levels of construction activity in the housing market," he added. In the rental report released this week, author Ronan Lyons pointed at high construction costs as a barrier to resolving the rental crisis. 

“The continuing slow growth of new rental supply is a key risk factor endangering economic recovery and increasing living costs for families. Unfortunately the housing action plan is simply not leading to the increase in housing supply which is necessary to establish a stable rental market," Barry COwen said this week.

“Ireland needs at least 25,000 new homes to be built each year, including a minimum of 13,000 in Dublin. However in 2016 fewer than 15,000 new homes were built nationwide with fewer than 4,000 of these located in Dublin."

“We’re still awaiting completion and publication of the Housing Agency’s assessment of construction costs. The Department needs to undertake simple actions such as implementing an audit of construction costs in order to determine the factors impeding the delivery of new homes. It’s astonishing that the Department still cannot tell us the average cost of building an apartment in Ireland," he continued.

“The ham-fisted nature in which the Building Control Regulations were implemented has arguably made the costs of building apartments and housing estates uneconomical. These regulations have to be reformed and a proper system of building control with local authority inspections put in place."

“Other incentives to increase supply of rental units include cheap financing for new build-to-rent units, incentives for landlords to maintain long-term leases and the introduction of a grant to help return some of the 260,000 vacant properties to the market," Deputy Cowen concluded.

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