“We have to put the interests of our people ahead of the interests of international capital.”

The Social Democrats today make an urgent call for legal restrictions to tackle the growing dominance of international investment funds on the rental sector which is pushing up prices and driving insecurity among renters.

Party co-leaders Catherine Murphy TD and Róisín Shortall TD, speaking ahead of the party’s third National Conference in Dublin today said:

“We are very concerned about the impact of bulk property purchases by Real Estate Investment Trusts on the planning, availability and ultimately the price of housing.

“We have to put the interests of our people ahead of the interests of international capital. This means restrictions on international investment funds and the proliferation of their luxury and unaffordable version of the rental sector. We want to end all special tax benefits to

REITS and legislate to ensure that REITS are not allowed to dominate the rental market.”

The co-leaders added:

“REITs currently enjoy sizeable tax benefits and they are using this position to purchase units and even entire housing developments in bulk. Their growing dominance in the rental sector means we are now seeing new estates that were granted planning permission for a mix of renters and owner-occupied units are now being settled as tenant only.

“This is entirely bad for our communities, which thrive when there is a mix of generations and families in different types of housing tenures. The increasing dominance of investment funds is also squeezing out first-time buyers who can’t get a chance to bid for homes in their areas.”

Calling also for a temporary national rent freeze, the party co-leaders said this was a temporary but necessary measure to stop the further deepening of the housing crisis.

“Right now, in all aspects of housing policy – Fine Gael has chosen the most expensive method of delivery that is market-based.

“This fundamental flaw in housing policy drives up the cost of everything and makes that most basic of human needs – a safe and secure home – something that is increasingly unobtainable and precarious. The cost of that reality is far more than economic – it is a society living in a constant state of insecurity and ultimately fear. Such a society benefits nobody.”

ENDS

22nd June 2019