Thursday, 8 July 2021
Residential Tenancies (No. 2) Bill 2021: From the Seanad
Likewise, I will not be opposing this legislation, although I do have a different view as to what the best approach is. As the Minister is aware and as Deputy Ó Broin has noted, there is a lot of commentary at the moment suggesting we might be heading into a period of significant increases in inflation. We all hope that will not happen but KBC is reported today as saying we are heading into a "noisy and nasty period of inflation". This commentary and analysis is based on the increase in the price of raw materials, how that is affecting crude oil prices, and utilities then putting their prices up. It is also due to the household savings that have been built up by some households and the pent-up demand that will be released as we come out of Covid. That will happen in the context of rents already being too high and unaffordable. It would also be a huge injustice if renters face increased rent and utility prices on the back of inflation from pent-up demand and household savings when most renters will not be participating in that extra spend at all. They would not have those household savings and they will be hit with increases in utility bills at the same time as potentially higher rent increases. What measures will be in place to monitor inflation increases? When will the Minister step in if inflation increases beyond a certain point? How quickly will he act on that? That is what people want to know.
There are issues around what happens outside rent pressure zones. Is this something on which the Minister hopes to act in the autumn when he brings forward additional legislation on renters? There are ways around these rent protections for tenants, in which some landlords participate. People have come to me who have been evicted and then the property is renovated - or sometimes just repainted - and it goes back up on the market at a much higher rent. That is a problem. Is that something that will be dealt with in the legislation the Minister is hoping to bring forward in the autumn?