Senator criticises State’s ‘fixation’ with home ownership

Renua Ireland’s Paul Bradford says Republic must look at long-term rented housing

Houses for sale in Dublin. Renua Ireland’s Paul Bradford has criticised the State’s ‘fixation’ with home ownership. File  photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times

Houses for sale in Dublin. Renua Ireland’s Paul Bradford has criticised the State’s ‘fixation’ with home ownership. File photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times

 

The State’s “fixation’’ with house ownership has to change, Renua Ireland Senator Paul Bradford has said.

Mr Bradford said: “We need to look across the continent and beyond.

“We need to look at dynamic societies where, not a minority, but a majority of citizens and families live in private rented accommodation long-term and have an alternative use for the capital sums which otherwise would be invested in home ownership.’’

Mr Bradford said that in the Republic it had become much too easy to see the landlord as “a type of Scrooge figure extracting the last euro or cent from an unfortunate tenant, and that is not always the case’’.

He said there were many thousands of good landlords across the country, just as there were many thousands of good tenants.

“We need to set in place fair but firm legislation on the rights of landlords and tenants,’’ he said.

Private sector

Minister of State for the Environment Paudie Coffey said the proportion of households in the private sector almost doubled between 2006 and 2011.

He said addressing the supply shortfall in housing would take time but, in the period since the publication of Construction 2020 housing strategy, some signs of recovery in the sector had become evident.

Particularly notable was the increase in the number of house completions last year to more than 11,000 units nationally, an increase of 33 per cent on the 2013 figure.

Mr Coffey said the latest figures for new house completions showed that 2,629 units were completed in the first three months of this year, up 26 per cent on the corresponding figure for the first quarter of last year.

He said that there had been a 29 per cent increase in planning applications and projects in the system in the first five months of this year.