Government will not change law to stop family evictions

The Government will not bring in a law that would stop families being evicted by landlords, as the number of people living in emergency accommodation hit record levels.

Government will not change law to stop family evictions

Focus Ireland is the latest charity, following the Peter McVerry Trust, calling for new legislation that would make, illegal, the evictions of families into homelessness.

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy said the law will not be changed, despite there now being 8,347 people living in emergency accommodation.

“You can’t bring in a change of the law that would prevent eviction.

“You have to find a balance between the people who are renting the property and the persons who own the property,” he said.

Minister Murphy was also asked about forcing landlords to allow tenants to remain when a property is sold.

“I’m not against the idea if we can find measures but I think we’ll have to make sure that we’re not doing anything that would undermine the ability and the incentive for landlords to be in the market.

“We cannot force people to be landlords. If we don’t have people letting out properties then we’re going to have a serious problem when it comes to trying to find accommodation for people,” the minister said.

He acknowledged, however, homeless figures are still “unacceptably high”.

The latest figures on the number of people living in emergency accommodation was 8,374 for the month of September.

The figures from the Department of Housing show there are 3,124 children.

The number of people in emergency accommodation in Dublin in September was 5,953, while 690 families were being housed in hotels and B&Bs across the country.

Mr Murphy told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland that for the first time, in three years, the number of families exiting emergency accommodation in Dublin had increased for two months in a row.

“We are making some progress and want to continue to make progress in the months ahead,” he added.

Focus Ireland’s Mike Allen described the overall picture as “bleak”.

“It’s now beginning to appear that what has been happening in Dublin three years ago is happening in Cork, Limerick and Galway,” he said.

Mr Allen said there was a well-acknowledged “mismatch” between the amount of housing available and the amount that was needed and it was “unreasonable” to expect that to change overnight.

However, he said the Government could close loopholes in the law allowing landlords to remove families from tenancies by claiming they were selling the property, moving back in or, increasingly, renovating the property.

Earlier this month, Fr Peter McVerry said Ireland was returning to “famine years” with evictions.

“Unless we prevent more people coming into the system, then trying to house homeless people is like trying to empty the bath water with the tap still running.

“It should be made illegal to evict people into homelessness, particularly families.

“That’s what we did during the famine years and we’re still doing it today in 2017,” said Fr McVerry.

The homeless campaigner said the crisis was not being addressed by Government despite several solutions being available.

“Basically, I think, this whole question of housing, you have to take on vested interests. You have to take on the banks.

“You have to take on the greedy landlords. You have to take on the vulture funds.

“You have to take on big vested interests. I think that is what this conservative Government is not prepared to do,” he said.

More in this section

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day. PS ... We would love to hear your feedback on the section right HERE.

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day. PS ... We would love to hear your feedback on the section right HERE.