Dáil debates

Tuesday, 9 July 2024

Residential Tenancies (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 2024: Second Stage

 

6:55 pm

Photo of Richard O'DonoghueRichard O'Donoghue (Limerick County, Independent)

I spoke in the Chamber last week. The Minister of State, Deputy Niall Collins, was present. We discussed student accommodation and the fact that people have to rent properties for more than 12 months. The Minister of State said that there would be legislation in this regard. However, the legislation before us relates to student accommodation, not private dwellings. My son goes to college; he and three other people rent a property together. We were told he had to rent the property for 12 months because they are afraid to let anyone into the house; if somebody goes in, because of the RTB, they will not be able to get them out and the students will have no place to go next year. The Government is legislating for student accommodation and NAMA properties. It is not legislating for a situation many people are caught in with rental accommodation. It is rental accommodation for students, but it is private. Something is needed for landlords so that if they give a short let for eight weeks or two months, that person is moved from there and it does not involve the RTB. It is for that time. They get out after that time and allow the students in if it is a short let. There are people with houses are afraid to do that. This Bill does not make provision for that. The Minister of State did not know what he was talking about last week. I tried to explain it to him. I am talking about real people whose children are away and who are trying to make sure they have accommodation for next year. We want to make sure that landlords are not afraid to rent out houses for two months and allow the students to come back for ten months, if they so wish. That is where the problem lies.

We are looking at infrastructure. I do not know how many times I have stated that every place you go, there is a lack of infrastructure. For example, look at Askeaton in County Limerick. A Fianna Fáil councillor there retired after 39 years. Fianna Fáil promised him 39 years ago that there would be a sewerage system; it still had not been done. It may be done by the start of 2027. We need infrastructure in order that people can have places to stay in if they so wish.

I was at a social farm in Kilmeedy yesterday. It is in a small village with a little restaurant and a community place. They help each other in a small community of a parish of around 300 or 400 people. If there is something on the social farm, they get all the stuff from the restaurant and they support each other. The need to comply with the different regulations the Government lays down is making it impossible for them to survive. Students come for training on the social farm because it is all about nature and teaching people. The Government stands in their way with various items of legislation. If we invest in towns and villages, they will support themselves and will not need the support of the Government. The Government must invest in transport and other infrastructure to make sure these areas can grow. If they can grow, people going to college and renting will come back and set up at home. They will not have to leave again. Common sense is not that common. Once there is investment in a place, everybody will support each other. Stop putting obstacles in their way and allow people and communities to grow.

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