Sinn Féin TD for Dublin South West Seán Crowe has said that the Government wasted the opportunity afforded by the eviction ban to increase the supply of social and affordable housing and it is renters who will pay the price when the Government votes to end the eviction ban tonight.

Speaking in the Dáil last night, Teachta Crowe said:

The core problem is the failure of successive Governments to deliver an adequate supply of social and affordable homes. We can all agree that the housing crisis is devastating lives across the State as people cannot afford sky-high rents or find suitable accommodation. That is because of the failure of successive Governments to take steps to deal with the crisis. That is the situation we are in.

“The point of the eviction ban was to buy time to increase the supply of social and affordable housing, but that time was wasted. The Government says the local authorities are free to buy existing rental accommodation to keep people in their homes but that sounds a lot easier than it is.

“I know of one couple who are receiving HAP from South Dublin County Council but who are living in County Kildare because they had to find somewhere affordable to live. Their landlord wants to sell to the council but what does that mean for the couple involved? South Dublin County Council is unlikely to buy a property outside its area so the best-case scenario is that the property might go to someone on the Kildare housing list and the renting couple will lose out and face homelessness. Another family I know are on the Dublin City Council housing list and are living in south Dublin and they face the same problem.

“These gaps and blurred lines are catching people out all over the State as families are forced to find what accommodation they can wherever they can. The tenant in situ scheme has the potential to increase our social housing stock, while limiting evictions into homelessness, but we need to ensure that there is a robust system in place that works and that works for tenants.

“And how long does it take for a council to buy a rental property? I know that in my local area it can take months, if not years, and private landlords do not want to hear that and do not want to wait that long. Will councils be resourced, not just to buy potential properties that become available, but to be able to inspect and clear a purchase in the minimum time possible? Otherwise, more and more properties will be snapped up privately by vultures and more and more families will be out on the street.”