Fine Gael is not the landlords’ party, Senator says

Paudie Coffey claims Government’s strategy aims to bring certainty to the rental sector

Paudie Coffey, a Waterford-based Fine Gael Senator, has rejected claims that his party is the landlords’ party.

Paudie Coffey, a Waterford-based Fine Gael Senator, has rejected claims that his party is the landlords’ party.

 

Claims that Fine Gael is the party for landlords have been rejected in the Seanad.

Paudie Coffey, a Waterford-based Fine Gael Senator, said the Government’s housing and rental legislation “proves that we are working to bring certainty to renters around the country and to ensure that their rental accommodation is sustainable.

“My party has been charged with being a landlords’ party, but I certainly do not agree.”

He also rejected threats from the Irish Property Owners’ Association, who had said they would consider introducing new levies, including charging tenants for car parking and call-outs, as well as seeking contributions to the property tax.

“The threats are unfair, untimely and the association needs to review them,” he said.

“We are here to work on behalf of all citizens.

“All stakeholders should come to the table to work with the Minister and ensure a sustainable and properly functioning rental sector. That is what we all require.”

Mr Coffey was speaking during a Seanad debate on Dáil amendments to the controversial Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Bill, which would enforce a 4 per cent rent cap in Dublin and Cork for the next three years.

Rent caps may also be extended to counties Louth, Meath, Kildare, Wicklow, Limerick, Galway and Waterford by the end of the year under the Bill.

Concerns

Mr Coffey expressed concern about exemptions from the 4 per cent cap for landlords who claim they have substantially refurbished a property.

However, Fine Gael Minister for Housing Simon Coveney said: “We don’t want landlords to change the wallpaper and then say they have engaged in substantial refurbishment.

“That’s not going to happen because the RTB (Residential Tenancies Board) has clear guidelines as to what is substantial refurbishment.”

Sinn Féin’s Seanad housing spokesman Trevor Ó Clochartaigh said that theGovernment’s strategy is “very disappointing and it is very much a missed opportunity to stand up for tenants”.

He said the only rent certainty was for landlords.

“I am very disappointed that Fianna Fáil has backed off on these issues. That party has reneged on the people.”