Freeze The Rent




Homeless campaigner Fr Peter McVerry spoke with Cathal MacCoille on RTÉ Radio One’s Morning Ireland earlier suggesting a rent freeze in the private rental sector to help curb the homeless crisis.


Fr McVerry also informed listeners that he has never spoken with Environment Minister Alan Kelly.

Cathal MacCoille: “You’ve been working with homeless people for over 30 years now – how do you characterise the current state of homelessness?”

Fr Peter McVerry: “It’s been in crisis for at least the last two years and now it’s beyond crisis. The numbers are just going up and up. For example, in January this year there were 410 families in emergency accommodation. In July, there were 659 families in emergency accommodation. The numbers are just going up and up and up. And I would describe the situation, it’s like a boat that’s drifting, it’s drifting towards the rocks and there doesn’t seem to be any engine that’s trying to drift it away from the rocks and there doesn’t seem to be anybody in charge. The problem is just getting worse and I see no measures being taken to try and address that problem in the short term.”

MacCoille: “I’ll talk about the measures you’re suggesting in a moment but, in your view, why is it so bad now?”

McVerry: “It’s so bad now. The primary cause now of homelessness, of 90% of the new people becoming homeless is the private, rental sector. Their rents have gone through the roof. People can no longer afford them. We deal with, we’re dealing with one young man, he’s been renting for the last two years. His rent was €950. The landlord came along and said next month it’s €1,300. He went to the Department of Social Protection, asked for an increase in rent allowance and was refused. He will now, this month, become homeless. And the second cause of it is homes being repossessed by the banks – particularly buy-to-lets. When a bank takes over a buy-to-let, a tenant who rents that house gets turfed out. So I think that’s the primary cause and that has to be addressed. There are two problems in this, there is first of all the problem and it’s an enormous problem, of helping those who are currently homeless finding accommodation but the second problem, I think even more urgent is trying to prevent more and more people and more and more families floating into homelessness. We’ve got to take measures to prevent that.”

MacCoille: “And this is why you’re calling on the department of the environment to freeze rents, to stop the number… rather than help those who are homeless but to stop more people from becoming homeless, yeah?”

McVerry: “It’s one particular measure, it’s already too late for so many families to freeze rents and anyway it’ll have to pass through legislation and that’s going to take time. It’s one measure. I think there are other measures. We have to increase the rent supplement, there’s no question about it. The rents, nationwide, in the last three and a half years, have gone up by an average of €50 per week. In Dublin they’ve gone up by over €90 per week on average and the rent supplement has been reduced by 28% – there is just no correlation now between the rent supplement and the rents that are being demanded by the landlord.”

MacCoille: “How likely do you think it will be that rents will be freezed or rent supplement will be increased?”

McVerry: “Well there’s a number of TDs who are landlords and I don’t think they’re going to vote for it.

MacCoille: “Have you asked the department?”

McVerry: “We have an emergency…”

MacCoille: “Have you asked the department, Peter?”

McVerry: “We’ve been calling for it, and so has Threshold, and so has Focus Ireland, and so has the Simon Community. We have been calling for rent freezes for ages. In November of last year the minister [Alan Kelly] said he was considering an emergency rent freeze. In February, he said he was going to do it – he actually said he was going to introduce emergency rent freeze. We’ve heard nothing since. That does not suggest to me like any sense of urgency in addressing what is a critical problem. You know the way the number of families are going, by the time the election comes around, in maybe six or seven months time, you’re gonna have 1,000 families who are actually homeless – there are not 1,000 hotel bedrooms available for 1,000 families, many of them are going to find themselves unable to access accommodation, it’s going to be in mid-winter and there’s an election coming up.”

MacCoille: “Have you spoken to Alan Kelly recently?”

McVerry: “I have never spoken to Alan Kelly.”

MacCoille: “Have you looked to speak to him?”

McVerry: “No, he hasn’t looked to speak to me.”

MacCoille: “No but would you not look to speak to him, you’re coming forward with what many group would agree are good ideas, would you not speak to him about them?”

McVerry: “Well Alan Kelly is well aware of my views, I have written about it extensively, I’ve written about it in the Irish Times, I’ve written about it in our own working notes. I think Alan Kelly is well aware of our position on the issue of homelessness.”

MacCoille: “Would you be willing to speak to him?”

McVerry: “Absolutely, I’ll speak to anyone.”

Morning Ireland

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91 thoughts on “Freeze The Rent

  1. fluffybiscuits

    Not only should we be seeking rent freezes but also

    -Drop in rents
    -Opening up of NAMA properties
    -Increase in rental allowance
    -New legislation to ban discrimination on grounds of rent allowance
    -Tax breaks for people to rent rooms to those whom are homeless
    -More social housing

    1. Anomanomanom

      You can’t force a rent drop. If it’s a private property the owner can charge what they like. And you can’t force owners to take someone on rent allowance. But the idiot doesn’t just help the homeless, he moved a convicted rapist in right next door to me and no one in the area knew of this.

    2. Nikkeboentje

      Think about what you are suggesting…if rents freeze or drop, do you think that will encourage more or less people to become private sector landlords?

      1. newsjustin

        This is it.

        Economics 101. Need to build (or renovate and make available) more homes or make the conditions were the private sector will build more homes.

      2. scottser

        exactly. but rental properties should be managed and let by professionals – either local authorities or voluntary housing agencies. amateur landlords should be a thing of the past.

        1. Mark Dennehy

          Most of today’s amateur landlords are accidental landlords though. They don’t actually want to be landlords, but they can’t sell the old house to buy the new one. So until you fix that problem, you’re not going to see the number of amateurs decrease.

          1. scottser

            easy fix mark – you can give over a property to a voluntary agency under long-term lease or failing that, let the house to the local authority under RAS.

    3. Paolo

      So someone renting her home while she is working abroad is told by her bank that her mortgage repayment is increasing. She can’t increase her rent?

      McVerry talks about someone paying €950 pm. That will get you a very nice house just outside Dublin. Why should the state fund someone’s choice to live in the city? Defining rules for rent increases is good but capping rent increases will not work.

      1. Small Wonder

        So rent should reflect the landlord’s financial situation? If someone has paid off their mortgage and has no outgoings on the house, is it rent free?
        It’s not up to a tenant to balance a landlord’s books.

        1. Kieran NYC

          So a landlord has to lose money on renting out a house?

          Should a local bakery be forced to trade at a loss because people are hungry?

          1. Small Wonder

            Yeah. The landlord should lose out if they’ve made a bad financial investment. It’s not a tenant’s problem.

            Why should renters be forced to fork out for people who buy multiple properties? The renters are the ones that are at a financial disadvantage. I would never lose a wink of sleep over a landlord.

          2. scottser

            a landlord will eventually own the property at the end of the mortgage term .however if a property is bought as a rental then the property should remain a rental for the duration of the mortgage.

          3. newsjustin

            If costs to landlords increase while rents stay the same there will be less and less incentive for anyone to build new rental properties.

            If costs eventually exceed income from rents, no one will build rental properties.

            There will be fewer places for people to live.

            Do you not see that?

          4. Jonotti

            No they are one half of the market along with renters.

            A rental price requires agreement on both sides. Simple stuff that so many like the IPOA fail to understand.

      2. Clampers Outside!

        So, what about your coffee shop worker, bar staff, till operators, shelf packers…. sure fupp them for earning minimum wage and shifty hours, let them all commute for a couple of hours in and out of Dublin to work, no need for them to live in the city at all at all.

        Sure fupp them, so long as you can afford it

    4. ollie

      Fluffybiscuits, don’t forget:
      restoration of legitimate tax breaks for landlords
      Removal of USC and PRSI from rental income
      Abolish PRTB, who serve no purpose
      Removal of the BER requirement

      By the way, rent controls are unconstitutional and Mr Kelly knows this. Why do you think he hasn’t imposed them as an attempt at vote getting? Because he knows he can’t.
      Just so you know, I have a couple in my apartment with a young child. They pay €300 a month less than the going rate because they would be on the street if I put the rent up. ANd I’m not the only landlord who’s in this position.

      1. scottser

        i would give the prtb a lot more teeth. they’ve got a very robust arbitration system at the minute but they should be the agency holding deposits and monitoring rental prices. the BER was really good idea but again, this is a matter of enforcement – properties with a crap BER still command outrageous prices due to market forces.

    5. Cluster

      There is a certain logic to rent caps but really what we need is for the govt to build well-designed social & affordable housing in urban areas.

      They have done it before (often quite well actually) & it would cost relatively little in the greater scheme of things.

  2. Neilo

    And while we’re at it:

    – Drain the Shannon
    -Reunite the national territory
    -Restore the Irish language
    -A chicken in every pot smoker

  3. Wayne.F

    I wonder has Fr Peter McVerry ever asked his boss, to open up some of the spare rooms in his palace in central Dublin to the homless? Has he considered asking the bishops to allow the use of the many empty beds in convents and monasteries in the city? Or perhaps donating some of the churches extensive land holdings for social housing? As for NAMA properties, didn’t they carry out a full review last summer and only something like 30% were fit for social housing and made available to DCC at the time

    Because if i worked with homlesness and my boss happened to be on of the largest private landowner in the state with a mission of charity and helping your fellow man,I would be asking serious questions of him

    1. newsjustin

      I take the thrust of your point, but (since you mentioned it twice) to clarify – the Archbishop of Dublin isn’t Fr McVerry’s boss. Fr McVerry is s member of the Society of Jesus so would have a local superior…not the bishop.

  4. gerrup

    There’s a bang of John O’Shea off McVerry. The Trust undoubtedly does good work and their advocacy on this issue is needed but McVerry himself comes across like a petulant child

    McVerry: “I have never spoken to Alan Kelly.”
    MacCoille: “Have you looked to speak to him?”
    McVerry: “No, he hasn’t looked to speak to me.”

    1. Mayor Quimby

      McVerry campaigned against the Central Bank’s Mortgage regulations designed to reduce the rate of housing bubbles.

      NO economic credibility

      1. Continuity Jay-Z

        The manager of my hedge fund would make a mighty priest, so he would.

        I told him that too.

    2. Dubloony

      Thought that was a odd set of statements.
      MacCoille: “Have you looked to speak to him?”
      McVerry: “No, he hasn’t looked to speak to me.”

      Kelly was on McVerry’s premises twice yet they didn’t meet. Was McVerry snubbing him?
      That he expects a miister to hang on his every word written in the Irish Times smacks of …something.

      Govt. can’t freeze rents. If they increase the rent allowance, rents will rise further. We need to get build again – in-fill of derelict sites, ghost estates, high density housing, social housing, the works.

  5. Panty Christ

    Surprised fg/lab haven’t sent the fuzz around to mcverry and rub him up or tried to soil his reputation and label him one of those inconvenient sinister types. Guy is a saint.

    1. Anomanomanom

      He’s a saint! You obviously have no knowledge of the man. Iv said this already but this idiot house a rapist, which turned out was a very violent rape, next door to me informing no one in the area.

        1. Anomanomanom

          It’s up to the owner of the property or persons housing a tenant to make sure the tenant is suitable. Housing a violent rapist in any area and not informing neighbours is negligence. In the end it makes no difference he was forced to move.

          1. scottser

            It’s up to the owner of the property or persons housing a tenant to make sure the tenant is suitable. – yep, but their brief is only with regard to the terms of the lease.

            Housing a violent rapist in any area and not informing neighbours is negligence. – no it’s not. offenders ot this type are supposed to be monitored by probation and welfare services. they are usually placed away from their known haunts and have to agree to ongoing supervision. informing neighbours would prejudice this process. at the end of the day you want these offenders visible, stable and engaged to reduce the risk of recidivism.

        2. Anomanomanom

          Also this is man who is notorious in ballymun for stupidly giving drug users hand outs for “essentials” when everyone knows they buy drugs with the money or sell what they get to buy drugs. He’s an idiot.

          1. Anomanomanom

            Tell me that when drug users and rapist get put living beside you. I really hope no one you know is ever effected by drugs or rape.

  6. jeanclaudetrichet

    Anyone remember Ciarán Mulooly circa 2008 on the news outside a ghost estate in Roscommon saying there was ‘up to a million’ such properties in the state? The boom was fake and exaggerated but the bust was as well.
    If only we had a few ‘gamblers’ to develop some property.

  7. Kolmo

    McVerry tries to help those the state has, for whatever reason, failed. Not every social ill and dysfunctional family can be helped by the state but an overly-powerful and anti-social property/housing industry built purely on the sand foundations of property speculation is well within the remit of a civilised state to properly manage. But we have Irish politicians, so it won’t be, natch.

    1. jeanclaudetrichet

      Stop being so David McSavage.
      There are approx. 200 countries in the world. About 100 of those don’t have any politicians because they are dictatorships, pricipalities, sultanates or theocracies. Of the remaining 100, about 50 are fake democracies (e.g. Russia, Belarus etc). The final fifty include countires that have Sarah Palin, Rand Paul, Nigel Farage, Jean-Marie LePen, that facist dude from Hungry etc. etc. so stop pretending that we have extreme circumstances in our politics here. We don’t.

      1. Kolmo

        Because something could be worse somewhere else debars us from aspiring for a well-managed modern state for the benefit of it’s citizens here?

        I don’t think so.

  8. Demon

    Perhaps the Supreme Court should revisit the decision that rent control was unconstitutional, looking at several of the Constitution’s sections?
    Perhaps a tax on empty houses to release them on to the rental or sale market?

      1. Cluster

        Yup, punitive property tax on empty properties are s no-brainer really.

        ‘Cept possibly unforeseen consequences with historic properties?

  9. Mcbab

    Fr. McVerry hasn’t turned up to scheduled meetings with the Minister. Wish someone would ask him why not

    1. Buzz

      He’s too busy dealing with the problem on the ground to sit around listening to hot air and empty promises?

  10. Anomanomanom

    The logic of some people seems to be…. I want A i can’t afford A. Make the owner of A give me it for what I want. In the paper today there is a women moaning that herself and her kids had to move back to the parents/grandparents house. All because she became pregnant and couldn’t work so could afford rent. Why get pregnant if you know you can’t afford your home because you’ll be pregnant. This parasite is moaning her rent allowance would not cover a bigger enough place. Sorry getting off point. But it seems Irish people have huge sense of entitlement.

    1. scottser

      so women who get pregnant because of a one-night stand, faulty condom, whatever are parasites now?

      1. Jonotti

        Yes in that case.

        She made her choices so she can enjoy her life with her grandfather. Why should we reward poor choices?

          1. New Person A

            That’s because you is boentje
            You also fixin right side don’t cha!
            You and jonotti and sister mister
            Give me chaps and cramps and blister

    2. Anne

      “Why get pregnant if you know you can’t afford your home because you’ll be pregnant.”

      So housing and children should only be for the wealthy is it?

      How about policies on housing and child care that benefit those parasites you mention, so that they don’t have to be parasites. Goon.

      1. Dubloony

        AirBNB is an interesting case in point.
        Landlords have figured out that they can make more in a week with tourists than a moth with tenants without the hassle of PRTB, standards and all of the bumpf that goes with letting out a property.

        I wonder if the drop in availability of rental places corresponds with the rise of AirBNB?

        1. Doolally

          Definitely, if the evidence from other cities is anything to go by. It’s exacerbating rental shortages in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Vancouver, Montreal, Berlin . . . . why would Ireland be immune from this effect? Governments are starting to react: New York is bringing a lawsuit against AirBnB for evading regulations; the authorities in SF are bringing court cases against hosts, and Berlin has started to fine them.

          Crisis in LA:
          Taking up 25% of available stock in San Fran:

          Taking 20% of housing stock in NY:

  11. Paul Davis

    Rents are rising because the cost of providing rental accommodation is rising,

    Just 30% of landlords own their properties outright. Renters would be shocked to note that approximately 62% of the rent they are paying is going straight back to the Government in the form of Income Tax, USC, PRSI and Local Property Tax. Around 15% goes on the normal rental business expenses, with the balance going to the landlord.

    On a rent of €1,000 per month, the Government takes €620, expenses take €150 and landlords keep €230 net.

    1. Markus

      You didnt mention that general rental expenses are tax deductible and also that loan interest on mortgage repayments is partially tax deductible.

      Even using your numbers shows a profit after tax of 23 per cent which most businesses would take your hand off to achieve

      1. Anne


        Reading that in relation to the Air B& B shenanigans from the revenue site recently, 75% of the interest payment is deductible.

  12. Kieran NYC

    I guess the previous article on the ‘Shoebox King’ has shut up those who usually come advocating a return to bedsits, digs and slums as a remedy for homelessness.

    1. Anomanomanom

      It’s a great idea. If it was used right. Build cheap bedsits. Livable bedsits not poo holes. Put anybody that it’s suitable for in them, it gives them a safe place to live to try rebuild their lives. Hopefully get out of the homeless trap and build a life.

  13. JunkFace

    Ireland needs Rent Control. The Irish culture is to rip each other off, take the bloody money while prices are going crazy. Sure, there’s a few good souls who are single property landlords, but come on let’s face it, the majority of landlords out there are raking in the cash while they can, especially multiple property owning landlords (How many are the Political class??) They also ignore BER certificates, most rental houses in Ireland are freezing in the winter, they won’t upgrade insulation at all, nothing is enforced. Rental homes should be inspected by the BER authorities and if the homes fail the landlords should be forced by the Government to upgrade insulation, they could also create jobs doing this.

    1. Anne


      Yeah.. Market forces. I.e. – Greed, greed and more fupping greed.

      Can’t be reducing rents, no incentive for landlords – Fupp off.

      Dublin is gone to the dogs. You couldn’t even afford to ‘live in the dream’ in fupping Ballymun if you won the lotto. A grand a month for a cardboard box in Ballyfuppingmun.. dodging bullets, scattering for your life to the shops. I’ll stay in culchieland, thanks very much.

      1. Anne

        ‘live in the dream’.. ‘Live the dream’ I meant. In Ballymun. Out of reach. Ah well, you can always dream.

      2. The Wizard's Sleeve

        It’s ‘Living the dream’, Lotto has a capital L, and Ballymun is SO 1970s darling!
        As for bullets and cardboard boxes, you keep on believing that.
        Stay where you are.
        culchieland needs more people like you staying at home.
        Dublin is grand without you.

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