Bill submitted this week seeking to close social housing loophole

by Rachel Darcy

A bill has been submitted this week that will seek to close a loophole allowing large developments to be exempt from providing social or affordable housing.

Sinn Féin Dublin Bay South TD, Chris Andrews, has submitted the bill with the aim of eradicating this loophole from legislation, and to ensure social or affordable housing in communities.

Deputy Andrews said: ‘’As a result of this loophole, we now have large developments of up to 50 units exempt for providing any social or affordable home to the community under their Part V obligation.

“Such a loophole in building regulation is slap in the face to Dublin City Council, who claims to be working towards a sustainable city.

“A prime example of this loophole being used is on York Road, Ringsend, where planning permission has been sought for a 15-storey tower, which is completely at odds with the character of the area and not a single unit of affordable or social housing included. This is a community crying out for social and affordable housing.

“We need community led developments with sustainability at the heart, no developer led. Developments with a mix of public, affordable and private homes.

“This loophole allows developments that are to be built on less than 0.1 hectare of land, to be exempt from their Part V requirement to provide a level of affordability and social housing.

“This Bill that I have submitted, seeks to delete this loophole from State legislation and ensure some level of social or affordable housing is provided for the community.”

The submission of this bill comes as Sinn Fein’s Eoin O Broin urges TDs to ‘give renters a break and support Sinn Féin’s Ban on Rent Increases Bill’ when it comes before the Dáil this Thursday, September 17.

Teachta Ó Broin said: “Next Thursday, my Ban on Rent Increases Bill will be debated and voted on in the Dáil. The legislation, introduced at first stage in July, has been selected through the Bills lottery for second stage time.

“Rents continue to rise, albeit at a slower rate than in previous years. The latest Daft.ie rent report for Quarter 3 of this year showed that average new rents across the state were €1412, while in Dublin average new rents were €2030. This represents an annual increase of 1% and 0.2% on Q3 2019.

“Earlier this week, the ESRI published a report highlighting the impact of high rents on increased commutes for working people. It confirms what many already know, that ‘city workers often face a choice between paying high housing costs to live close to work or making long commutes from areas with lower costs of accommodation’.

“It is time to give renters a break. Government must focus on halting rent increases, putting money back in renters pockets and increasing investment in the delivery of large volumes of affordable cost rental accommodation.

“The debate and vote on Sinn Féin’s Ban on Rent Increases Bill next Thursday gives all TDs to stand with renters and address the first of these three policies.

“Last December, the Dáil passed Sinn Féin’s Rent Freeze, with support from Fianna Fáil and the Green Party. The Bill we are tabling next week would allow rents to fall but ban any future rent increases for three years.

“If Fianna Fáil and the Green Party are serious about protecting renters, they will support our Bill.”

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