LATEST: Landlords suspicious of plan to penalise those with vacant properties

UPDATE 4.45pm: Proposals by the Housing Minister to penalise those who have vacant homes have been met with suspicion by landlords.

Minister Eoghan Murphy has said that he’ll look at new measures to bring the homelessness crisis under control including bringing vacant homes back into use.

It comes as the Simon Communities warns that 91% of properties are beyond the reach of those on rent supplement.

Director of the Residential Landlords Association, Fintan McNamara, says most landlords are already renting their properties.

"Landlords don't however generally speaking leave properties except if intending to sell them and they want ease of access for open viewings.

"The only properties which they leave vacant are the bedsits, which they're compelled to do."

Earlier The Housing Minister has clarified that no-one wants to take homes off the elderly.

A vacancy strategy that will be released in full in September will outline how they can lease out their property if they are not living in it to help alleviate housing shortages.

Eoghan Murphy says the Fair Deal scheme could work in everyone's favour if implemented correctly.

"What we are trying to achieve is that where there are homes that are not being lived in in areas of high demand, that we try and incentivise those homes back into use.

"But to have those incentives and make them credible, we also have to make sure there are potential penalties in place for people who don't do that," said Mr Murphy.

"When it comes to Fair Deal, we're not talking about that at all.

"Where there are people in nursing homes and they might want to let out homes, that we find a scheme whereby if they want to do that they can, then we would like to accommodate that," he added.

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