“Absolute shame” for suggesting Tipperary landowners are profiteers
It was “an absolute disgrace” to label landowners as profiteers, said a local politician.
Angry Cllr John Fitzgerald said these landlords were “the only show in town for a long time” when they rented out their properties to people in need of housing, and at a time when the government was not building of houses.
“These people provided housing when no one else was renting,” he said.
Cllr Fitzgerald made his remarks at a Clonmel Borough district meeting during a housing discussion, in which a Tipperary County Council official also said there was a very low supply of private rental housing across the county.
“There are no houses there,” said Sean Lonergan, housing administration manager.
Cllr Fitzgerald said there was a supply problem, and that was the problem.
However, he took offense at the term “owner” which had been used during the discussion, as he said “it has connotations with starvation”.
“A person who owns a city apartment is an owner, not an owner. He said it was unfair to castigate people for selling, whether to pay for a child’s college education or to write off a mortgage.
Above: Cllr John Fitzgerald said the term owner had connotations with starvation
“The profit they get from it should not be frowned upon. They also create an opportunity for first-time buyers and that’s good news, ”he said.
Cllr Pat English had reported that the cost of renting accommodation in Clonmel was between € 1,000 and € 1,200 per month. Some monthly rents charged by owners have gone from € 700 to € 1,200.
This cost was “ridiculous” and he could only see the situation getting worse.
He also said that the homeless problem was getting worse.
“Everything is for profit and this has serious consequences for the people on the ground. “
Cllr English said the vast majority of landlords were very fair to their customers, but some were abusing tenants and the system.
Cllr Siobhán Ambrose said it was a very difficult problem when houses that had been taken out for Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) were put up for sale and then the city council had to relocate those HAP tenants. . This meant that others who were on the accommodation list had to wait a very long time to be accommodated.
District mayor Michael Mayor said the housing report appeared to contain a large number of resignation notices from landlords over the past six months in relation to long-term rental contracts and the RAS (Rental Accommodation Scheme).
He asked if there was any analysis of why owners were leaving the market.
Was it because it was a good time to sell or would they get higher rents in the private market, he wondered.
In the past six months, more homeowners have left the market and withdrew from contracts than in the past five years.
SAR and long-term rental were important instruments for local authorities, but now they were under enormous pressure, the district mayor said.
Housing manager Sean Lonergan said “We are under tremendous pressure because of the number of resignation notices we have received”.
He said the council has 864 HAP tenants across the county and those people are also on the waiting list for housing.
He said that many departure notices had been received regarding HAP, RAS and in some cases long term rental. The council had interceded with the owners within the framework of the HAP and the RAS to minimize the number of notices of resignation.
In some cases, the council had served notices on landlords to improve tenants’ conditions.
The municipality was responsible for housing the tenants of the RAS, while if a HAP tenant received a notice of resignation, the municipality provided him with a new pack to find private rental accommodation.
Municipalities only started building houses again after the economic downturn and were trying to get the houses up and running as quickly as possible.
Above: Cllr Pat English said the massive rent increases “have had huge consequences for the people”.
However, Mr Lonergan said it was not all bad news as the council had two HAP locators in operation, one in the south of the county and one in the north.
All those approved for HAP and who were on the transfer list were also considered for social housing.
The council also had two homeless prevention officers and services were available for the homeless.
Clients who were genuinely homeless had been accommodated for six months in a council house, with an exit strategy to ensure they had good quality accommodation to move into.
Choice-based leasing was also central to their leasing process.
This policy had seen refusal rates in Cork drop from 30% to 9%.
Refusal rates in Clonmel District were 27.3% and he hoped that this policy would help those rates drop to 9% when it was operational.
Mr Lonergan said they have put a lot of effort into ensuring that the homeless are taken care of.
The money the council was spending on emergency accommodation had declined because it was focusing on prevention.
Mr Lonergan said the council exceeded targets set by the Housing Ministry.
Social housing assistance has been provided to all eligible people.