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Govt may extend rent freeze

The Government will consider extending a rent freeze and moratorium on evictions which was introduced as an emergency measure at the start of the Covid 19 crisis.

The measures were due to expire on July 20th, but the Minister for Housing, Darragh O’Brien, has told the Dail he will write to the Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, to ask if the public health advice merits an extension. 

“If it is justified, I will bring a proposal to Government accordingly,” Minister O’Brien said. “I will consider the economic situation as well and possible further measures that maybe put in place should they be needed.”  

He was responding to a motion tabled by the Labour Party calling for further state supports for tenants in rental accommodation  who, the party said, have been disproportionately effected by job losses as a result of Covid 19.  

The party’s spokesperson on education, Aodhán O Riordáin, said more than a third of those working in the hospitality and food sector, 27% in the retail sector 21% of those in construction are living in rental accommodation.    

He said some 200,000 renters are in sectors most severely effected by job losses: “Renters are less well able to weather this storm,” he said.  “So are we going to leave them to the market, to the private sector, or are we going to leave them with the protection of the state?” 

The Solidarity- People Before Profit TD, Richard Boyd Barrett, said there was no need to consult with the Health Minister on whether to extend the measures, because it is “self-evident” that evicting people to hostels, hotels or the streets was “utterly incompatible” with public health guidelines. 

The Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Eoin O’Broin said the Minister must extend the ban on rent increases as a matter of urgency. 

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