Sinn Féin wants ban on housing evictions brought back as Covid restrictions tighten

Sinn Féin wants ban on housing evictions brought back as Covid restrictions tighten

Sinn Féin’s housing spokesman Eoin Ó Broin wants to 'reinstate the ban on evictions, leave it in place until early next year.'

Eviction bans should be reinstated as should the full €350-a-week pandemic unemployment payment (PUP) given the increase in Covid-19 restrictions, Sinn Féin’s housing spokesman has said.

Speaking at the launch of his new affordable housing scheme, Eoin Ó Broin said the justification used in July was that the economy was opening up and the virus was less of a threat.

“They said they could no longer justify constitutionally the ban on evictions and rent increases,” he said. 

We didn't agree with that at the time, but we're actually now in a worse place in terms of the level of restrictions than we were back in July. So, they should be reintroduced and introduced immediately.

“And there are newspaper reports that there may be six other counties that might have additional restrictions placed on them. So my view is reinstate the ban, leave it in place until early next year, and then we can just proceed from there,” Mr Ó Broin said.

Mr Ó Broin has published an ambitious affordable housing plan which provides detailed information on the affordable homes Sinn Féin would deliver in government.

Under his plan, private builders will be used to build and sell the houses, who, as he said, will get a margin of between 5% or 6%.

“The crucial point of this, I suppose, is it cuts out multiple layers of additional profit that private developers make  — a private developer typically takes an extra 15% margin. The point I'd be making some years the public sector can deliver homes at about €160,000 cheaper than the private sector,” he said.

He has said Budget 2021 provides an opportunity to do this and put in place a more ambitious approach.

Sinn Féin’s priority “would be to deliver public homes on public land to ensure working people have access to genuinely affordable homes to rent and buy”.

Under the scheme, he has said a Sinn Féin government would commence the largest public house-building programme in the history of the State.

The plan:

  • Would increase capital expenditure for social and affordable housing by an additional €1.5bn on 2020 levels, bringing the total capital spend to €2.8bn.
  • Would deliver 20,000 public homes on public land in 2021.
  • Would deliver 12,000 real social homes, 2,000 more than the Governments targets for 2021.
  • Would deliver 8,000 affordable homes, 4,000 affordable cost rental and 4,000 affordable purchase.
  • Affordable rents would be set at prices of between €700 and €900 per month in Dublin and lower elsewhere.
  • Affordable purchases would be set at prices of €230,000 or less in Dublin and lower elsewhere, with no hidden equity charges.
  • Eligibility for affordable housing would be set at a gross income of €55,000 for a single person and €85,000 for a couple. Public housing would be delivered by Local Authorities, Approved Housing Bodies and Community Housing Trusts.
  • Capacity issues would be addressed by shifting construction workers from the commercial and non-residential sector into public housing projects.
  • Delivery would include new builds, turn-keys (with a focus on affordable housing) and acquisitions.
  • Joint Venture and Land Initiative projects which propose the use of public land for unaffordable open market price homes would be revisited and where possible returned to fully public housing developments

“We would spend €2.8bn on public housing in 2021, an increase of €1.5bn on 2020 levels. Of these 20,000 public homes, 12,000 would be real social homes  — 2,000 more than proposed by Government,” he said.

“8,000 would be genuinely affordable homes for working people, evenly split between affordable cost rental homes and affordable purchase homes. Affordable homes for €230,000 or less will be available to purchase in Dublin, the commuter belt and other major urban areas,” he added.

Across the rest of the State, affordable homes for €220,000 or less would be delivered. Households' eligibility for affordable housing would be set at a gross income of €55,000 for a single person and €85,000 for a couple.
For those wishing to rent an affordable home in the long term or while saving to try and purchase a home, affordable cost rental homes will be available for between €700 and €900 per month depending on household size and income.


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