Friday, 4 June 2021
Affordable Housing Bill 2021: Committee Stage (Resumed)
I will be brief because many of the points have been covered. I want to return to the issue of calming the market, which I have raised many times. Calming the market means that everybody needs certainty. It does not only apply to the certainty of the tenant but also applies to certainty for those providing the cost rental units because otherwise we will not have such units. I completely understand Senator Cummins' position and I am grateful to him for laying it out so clearly. We need to be clear that we are not going anywhere with this radical proposal for cost rental unless we can ensure approved housing bodies will not go bust, on top of everybody else. That is important.
I welcome the comments the Minister of State has made about tenancy in perpetuity, particularly around units benefiting from State intervention. We are now looking at a minimum of 40 years and beyond that, many rentals, if not most, would be in perpetuity. That is positive. There may be opportunities to consider beyond that 40-year period. That 40-year period is a considerable extension. It is, in fact, 33% longer than the timescale initially proposed in the Bill and will, therefore, reduce everybody's rent over that 40-year period. The Minister and the Minister of State have done a significant thing in accepting that amendment. We might look at a length of time beyond the 40 years, stretching in perpetuity, and what the rent might look like in that case. It is clear there are State supports for people who cannot afford to pay the rent, even at this significantly reduced rate, which is also to be welcomed.