Across Europe, families happily rent their homes for the long term, enjoying protection from the law for a most fundamental right. In Ireland, the system of renting is broken and needs a radical fix. One in six people in Dún Laoghaire ward are tenants; myself and my family included.
Rising property prices without decent legislation is showing that we have learnt nothing from the boom and bust. Old style politicians are delighted that house prices are rising again as if that makes us all richer. Tenants are treated as second class citizens with no rights.
We need some basic changes to our law that everyone would benefit from. Here are some examples:
* Fixed term leases without loopholes such as “the landlord needs to move in a family member”;
* No obligation for tenant to pay to store the landlord’s furniture during tenancy;
* Income Tax relief for renting;
* Deposits held and managed by third parties;
* Minimum insulation standards for rented property;
* Legal enforcement to show BER ratings for rentals;
* Rental increase/decreases based on inflation rates.
Local councils are empowered to enforce minimum standards for rented accommodation. They are also meant to insure that no home is rented without a building energy rating (BER). So local government can have a real role in improving rented accommodation if they have the will and the budget to do so.