Our Plan For Housing
Build Affordable Homes
Put public land banks to use to deliver social and affordable homes to rent or buy.
Rights for Renters
Strengthen renters’ rights and introduce rent certainty measures that work
Better rental supports to help people stay in their homes or find alternative homes
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Affordable Houses for All
- It sees housing as a commodity and not a home – and as a result has yielded far too much to vested interests.
- Its housing strategy is far too reliant on the private sector, including for the delivery of social housing.
- It is not maximising the use of available land – both public and private
Use public land banks for social and affordable housing
The Social Democrats believe that public land banks should be used to deliver social housing, affordable/cost rental and affordable purchase housing, with good social and tenure mix.
In addition, we would ensure that all new developments would be a mixture of 70 per cent houses for purchase, 20 per cent for affordable housing and 10 per cent for social housing.
We would update legislation and Ministerial guidelines to ensure that the hand of our local authorities is strengthened in negotiations about the cost of social and affordable housing, by providing that where developers are stalling in negotiations the local authority will acquire land from within that development from the developer within a specified time period.
We would promote much better competition in the mortgage market so that Ireland’s very high variable rate mortgages are significantly reduced and it is far easier for consumers to switch. We would improve supports to those in difficulty with their mortgage.
A Housing Delivery Agency
You can read our full housing policy here.
Strengthening Renters' Rights
One in five people are currently renting in Ireland. Yet the rental market in Ireland is extremely precarious, with people losing the roof over their heads far too easily and often.
The Social Democrats want to see more certainty for those renting. Here are our proposals:
- Reinstatement of the Part V requirement of 20% for social and starter housing. Immediately set down binding guidelines that NAMA builds sustainably, not just with a focus on the number of units.
- Rent Certainty – we would link future rent increases in areas of high rental inflation to the cost of living.
- Secure Occupancy for Tenants – We would undertake a review of current security of tenure provisions to robustly strengthen tenure security, including ensuring that tenancies don’t end with the sale of the property and that tenants acquire security of tenure rights after two months, instead of six.
- Change planning laws so that all new developments must include a range of homes suitable for all stages of the life-cycle;
- Amend the Multi Unit Development Act to reduce costs for certain home-owners (see separate section on MUDs).
- Reduce the interest rate applying to Local Property Tax deferrals to the level of State borrowing costs, and explore other ways that this tax can be reformed to improve ability to pay.
- Our draft law, the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Bill 2018, would give tenants more security by increasing minimum notice periods and introducing more transparency around rents charged. You can download our Bill here.
Our Renter’s Charter has 12 proposals to make renting in Ireland more secure and affordable. Here’s how:
1. Bring in Proper Rent Caps
Currently, landlords in the country’s 21 Rent Pressure Zones may not increase rents by more than 4% a year. But rents are continuing to rise far in excess of 4%. For instance, despite the supposed 4% cap, Cork rents rose by 7.7% in in 2017 and Dublin rents rose by 10.9%. The Social Democrats would link rent caps to the rate of inflation (currently under 1%) and apply it across the whole country. In an effort to curb sky-rocketing rents, in September 2018 we proposed a two-year nationwide rent freeze.
2. Scrap Stamp Duty on Rents
At present, tenants sharing accommodation where the total rent is above €2,500 face stamp duty on top of their rental bill. As rents rise, more and more renters will fall into this category. This is a ridiculous tax and only makes a bad situation worse. We will scrap this stamp duty.
3. Proper Regulation of Rental Sector
Strengthening the Residential Tenancies Board so that it is in a much better position to regulate the rental sector.
4. Protect Buy-to-Let Tenants
Updating legislation to ensure that tenants of Buy-to-Let properties do not have to leave the tenancy when the property is transferred to a new landlord or receiver.
5. Lengthen Maximum Length of Tenancies
Allowing for tenancies of indefinite length – currently tenancies can be ended after six years.
6. Introduce Deposit Protections
A Deposit Protection Scheme and also set down a new legal definition of deposit so that it can only ever mean one month’s rent.
7. Extend Notice of Terminations
Requiring landlords to give at least three months’ notice for terminations of tenancies for all renters.
8. Do Away with Extra Charges
Limiting charges that landlords can apply – such as bin collection and car parking that in some cases are being used by landlords to side-step current rent caps. We would also ban the taking of deposits to view properties for rent.
9. Ban Bidding on Rents
Banning rent bidding and introducing clearer penalties for people soliciting bids on rents.
10. Boost Supply of Housing
Establishing a new National Housing Delivery Agency to manage the delivery of thousands of new homes, including thousands of new affordable rental homes.
11. Stiffer Penalties for rogue landlords and tenants
Increasing penalties for both rogue landlords and rogue tenants.
12. A Rents Register to tenants can find out rent amounts paid
Establish a register of rents so that new tenants can find out how much rent their predecessors paid. This will allow them to check if rents caps are being properly applied to their tenancy.
Download our Renters’ Charter here
The Social Democrats are committed to both preventing and tackling homelessness in all its forms in Irish society. Some of our key policy proposals to prevent homelessness include:
- Allow greater discretion to front-line workers in terms of rental support where there is a risk of homelessness/eviction, by extending Homeless HAP to the whole country and by ensuring the HAP scheme can provide discretionary uplifts.
- Local Authorities should be given formal responsibility of finding alternative housing for people who have had their HAP tenancy terminated.
- Our Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Bill 2018 looked to ensure that landlords give tenants far longer notice periods when they are terminating a tenancy so that tenants and support services have enough time to source alternative accommodation.
You can read our full housing policy here.
Our Plan for Housing
Download our detailed proposals to tackle the crisis of housing supply and quality and tackle homelessness.