The Housing Crisis

According to the Government the aim of Irish housing policy is “to enable every household to have available an affordable dwelling of good quality, suited to its needs, in a good environment, and, as far as possible, at the tenure of its choice”. Despite these noble aspirations There are still many families  in Ireland homeless, or living in poor accommodation,  Ireland is not unique in having these problems. Throughout the world people live in slums and sub-standard accommodation. While we cannot solve the worldwide problem of homelessness, we can achieve those noble aspirations in Ireland.

A house is for some a temporary necessity (a place to live) for others a house is an investment opportunity to provide a rent-free place of retirement and a benefit to bequeath to the family upon their passing.

Financial institutions would however prefer if you rent a home from them, after all if they give you a mortgage (a loan) to buy a house, they get a return (interest) for perhaps 30 years, whereas if they invest in the property market themselves and rent the property to you it provides a permanent return on their investment.

Solving the short term supply problem;

The Government could solve the short term supply crisis by declaring a ”Housing Emergency” allowing them to compulsorily purchase apartments and houses which are currently vacant, and renting these at an affordable rent to those homeless and those on the housing waiting list. However this is not going to happen because;

  1. Landlords rental incomes would be diminished possibly leading to a reduction of the number of properties for rental
  2.  Pension funds invested in property being adversely effected so reducing their profits..

On the positive side, the houses and apartments already built would not just vanish into thin air , and would be available for purchase by the government to satisfy the housing needs of the State. This would also help to ensure socially integrated housing supply.

Solving the long term supply problems;

There is no shortage of building land for the building of homes for the people. However land ownership is often fragmented, and available at the whim of the owner. The State should compulsorily purchase these sites (at current use values), The provision of social accommodation in mixed developments of owner occupied and “for rent” communities to  provide for the citizens a place of residence, and to meet the basic human right to a place of shelter befitting a dignified human existence.

  1. First the establishment of a single National Housing Authority, removing from local authorities the role of “landlord”, ending waiting lists and the interference by local Councilors in the allocation of local authority housing units.
  2. Unoccupied homes should then be made available through local estate agents for rental at market rates in the same way as for other private rental properties. This would allow prospective tenants to seek out accommodation in the area of their choice.
  3. Those needing rent support would be assisted by the Dept of Social Welfare in the normal way in accordance with their income and needs.

A Cap on Rents:

A cap on rents based on the declared value of a property for the purpose of the Local Property Tax would create a return of rents which would discourage overcrowding and reduces costs to the tenants. Such a cap would operate on the basis of a maximum rent of 4% of the minimum value declared for the local property tax. (An example would be a typical home with a LPT value of 400,000 euro would produce an annual rent of 16,000 euro or 1,333 euro per month)

This entry was posted in General. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply