A student's take on Budget 2019: 'Complete inaction’ for young renters

My budget: Measures announced lack ‘sweeping changes’ needed to bring rents down

Trinity student Saul Kenny was left sleeping on a couch following a dispute with a landlord Photograph: Jack Power

Trinity student Saul Kenny was left sleeping on a couch following a dispute with a landlord Photograph: Jack Power

 

Saul Kenny (21) is a final year politics and sociology student in Trinity College Dublin, renting in the city centre.

For him the Budget announced on Tuesday was a frustrating “continuation of the same policies” when it came to the housing market, he said.

Measures represented a “complete inaction” from the Government towards the difficulties facing young students and workers currently renting.

The main change in relation to the rental market was an increase to 100 per cent in the mortgage interest relief rate landlords can claim on loans to buy or refurbish property.

Mr Kenny said he did not see how the proposal, which will cost €18 million a year, would help “struggling students and young people like [himself] trying to rent”.

“If you’re giving more tax breaks to landlords, is that going to translate into cheaper rent, I don’t know,” he said. What was needed were policies aimed at bringing down the cost of rent, and the Budget did not make any “sweeping changes” in that respect, Mr Kenny said.

‘Outside the box’

“From what I saw there was no mention of young people or first time buyers” he said. Commitments to build more social housing were welcome, he said. But the Government had to “try help those people that aren’t homeless, but can’t afford the houses that are being built,” he said.

The lack of drastic housing policy changes was disappointing, as “we need something outside the box,” he said.

Mr Kenny is living in a three-bed house on Camden Street, and paying €650 a month in rent. Recently he shared his room for several weeks with a friend who could not find accommodation, despite earning “decent money” working for a consulting firm, he said.

Referencing recent housing protests and the Take Back the City campaign, which has occupied vacant Dublin city properties, Mr Kenny said the Government “don’t seem to have listened” to young people and protesters.

“How many more houses need to be occupied to prove a point . . . Overall it is a Budget that produced the same old same old,” he said.