Jim O’Connell, election candidate for the People Before Profit Alliance in Cork South Central, has this morning expressed disbelief at figures revealed by Daft.ie that show a 10.4% increase in Cork rent prices in 2015.
According to Jim, “These figures are unbelievable. This is an unreasonable increase that shows more than ever the need to introduce coherent rent control policies in the private renting sector. City centre and suburban rent prices are crippling, people simply cannot afford to put a roof over their heads. It’s no wonder homelessness is such a problem and with rent inflation like this, it is only going to get worse.”
Jim also pointed out that private rent increases make life extremely difficult for families claiming rent allowance. Currently, the rent threshold for a family with 2 kids claiming rent allowance in Cork city is €725, yet a quick scan of available properties shows no two bed apartments for rent in the city centre below €900.
“This Fine Gael/Labour coalition is sitting on its hands while a housing and homelessness crisis is suffocating Irish society”, said Jim. “More Irish people are going to end up in shelters or living on the streets if housing policy is not overhauled. Rent control is now no longer an alternative, it is the only option to ensure everyone in this country can afford decent accommodation.”
The standard of private rental accommodation also needs to be regulated more efficiently, as does the quality of current social housing units. “Nothing about Irish housing policy is working right now”, said Jim. “Social housing policy is a shambles, the private rental sector is an unregulated mess, the construction industry is on its knees thanks to soaring material costs – it’s just not good enough. The Irish people deserve so much better than this, they deserve for their basic rights to decent housing to be met. This Fine Gael/Labour government clearly isn’t up for the job; it’s time for a change and we clearly can’t wait much longer for that change to come.”
Jim O’Connell is the People Before Profit general election candidate for Cork South Central.