Every Little Home Helps

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From top: Homegiving posters for Ryanair, Guinness, Apple and Tesco

Further to the debate on company towns in Ireland.

Antoine D’Alton writes:

Our mission is to persuade large and medium sized employers to build affordable homes for their employees and help make a lasting contribution towards solving our national housing crisis.

We aim to initiate a Employee Homestead Provision Bill before the Irish Parliament this year with the aim of removing unnecessary restrictions which have been placed on employees regarding employer housing provision.

We want to encourage large and medium sized employers throughout Ireland in the private and public sector to consider investing in housing projects whether it is apartment buildings or housing estates which are purpose built to serve the increasing demand for our nation’s growing workforce.

We believe that we can include large and medium sized companies in the social bargain, and encourage them to return to building homes and communities which they used to do in the past.

We maintain, that Government by itself cannot and will not solve the housing crisis on its own. We further believe that the Irish property market has been skewed in favour of speculators, property developers, financial institutions and private landlords all of whom have a vested interest in ensuring unaffordable house prices and disproportionately high rental prices prevail into the future

As it stands it has become increasingly difficult for young families and employees to find an affordable home or rental property in our cities and major towns. We understand the frustration this is causing and recognise the long-term adverse effect this will have on our economy and our nation going forward.

The current housing crisis has been caused by poor planning and ill-considered public policy. It seems our government has not learned the lessons of the financial collapse of the Irish economy in 2008 which necessitated a bailout from the European Commission, the ECB and the IMF.

We are conscious of the hardship which speculation and price gouging in the housing and rental markets is causing. We know that it is resulting in families being evicted from their homes and being unable to pay rents which are way out of sync with average household earnings.

We know that private landlords and private equity firms are basing their returns on what they assume working professionals will pay. In the city of Dublin many of those employees work for large and medium sized tech firms whose staff are effectively competing for scarce rental properties and as a consequence through higher purchasing power are displacing people who can no longer remain in those properties which have served as their homes.

Moreover, those higher rental and accelerating home prices are putting disproportionate pressures on existing employees working for large and medium sized employers.

The exorbitant costs of rents and the difficulties in finding a home is acting as a disincentive for employees coming for abroad. We know from experience that thriving companies rely on and need new personnel, without them those companies cannot grow and prosper.

We all know that Ireland provides one of the most generous tax regimes for private companies in the world at 12.5% per annum. We know that many companies who avail of that rate are not contributing their fair share to our economy nor to the common good.

In some respects their low-earning employees have no alternative but to ask the government to assist them with housing. We do not believe that the tax payer should fit the bill for the failure of profitable and well capitalised companies to provide accommodation for their employees.

We want to change the dynamics of the Irish property market, and ensure that there is home security for our growing work force in the years ahead. We know that this will have positive knock-on effects for our nation, our people and for our economy. We believe that by investing in affordable housing, large and medium sized companies will be putting down long-term roots which in turn will create long-term job security.

We appreciate that there will be people with a vested interest in not allowing our bill go forward, we know who they are and we know the damage they have inflicted on our nation in the past? If they are allowed to succeed, we know they will damage our nations future and worse the future of our children.

It is our common cause to ensure that they will not succeed in that respect.

Finally, at the most basic level, we have a very human need, one that should be affordable to all and one that is the bedrock of our society – the need and the desire to have a place we call, home. With the Employee Homestead Provision Bill, we believe we can make that a realisable objective again not just for employees of large and medium sized companies, but for all.

We need your support.

Previously: Our Kind of Town?

46 thoughts on “Every Little Home Helps

  1. Rob_G

    This is such a convoluted solution to a simple problem: housing is so expensive at the moment because there are too many people chasing after too few properties. The govt needs to encourage and facilitate the construction of new properties (both private properties and social housing); once this happens, rents and house prices will level off.

    It’s not private companies’ responsibility to sort out the housing crisis; their responsibility is to pay their employees a fair wage. It is the govt’s responsibility to ensure that sufficient accommodation is available for a reasonable proportion of this wage.

    1. ironcorona

      Good point.

      If you work in Dublin you should be able to afford to live in Dublin.

      This is exactly the sort of thing that governments are supposed to do.

      1. Deli

        What if you don’t work in Dublin as in you don’t work at all. Should you be allowed to live in Dublin.

    2. Pat Harding

      I think there is a lot of traction in this area, and one which is being neglected. Part of the reason why employers have not been as active in providing homes is because of the tax implications for employees, which could easily be addressed. There is no good reason, why employers cannot play their part in increasing housing supply. Perhaps Rob__G you never considered the fact that a ‘fair wage’ or a ‘good salary’ can also include housing provision.

      1. Rob_G

        Part of the reason why employers have not been as active in providing homes is because of the tax implications for employees

        – if housing provision is to be included as a benefit in kind it will be taxed accordingly; otherwise you will just see employers paying their executives relatively small salaries (thus paying very little tax), but giving them massive houses and other favourably-taxed perks.

        Much simpler to just zone more land for housing, build taller buildings, etc.

    1. Pat Harding

      Ah, the old Blueshirt label. Perhaps you should mention that Fianna Fail have been and continue to be the largest net beneficiaries of contributions from property developers and private landlords. This has been the case since they launched the public housing schemes in the 1930’s.

      1. dav

        whataboutery, as if there is any difference between fg and ff traitors. blushirts are currently in power (with mehole pulling the strings)

    1. May Jane

      Yes they did. My granny lived in a house in Rialto that was built by Guinness. Her father in James Gate.

  2. Spaghetti Hoop

    Imagine the restrictions on a Ryanair gaff!!

    Seriously, the onus on employers is to provide a salary weighted to the cost of living in the residential radius of the place of work. Dublin salaries should have been weighted a long time ago. Accepting a house from your employer is soul-selling in my opinion.

    1. scottser

      a ryanair gaff – 150 miles away from where you want to be, small, cramped and you’ve to pay to use the jax..

      1. Nigel

        Three or four times a day air-stewards wheel a trolley through and try to sell you perfume and lottery tickets.

    2. Frilly Keane

      and has a Benefit In Kind charge

      but sur

      ya know
      some Right2 whatever yere having yerselves will sort it all out

    3. louislefronde

      @Spaghetti Hoop….’Soul selling’ is transferring a disproportionately high amount of your net income to developers, private landlords, and financial institutions who are in the business of screwing you out of every additional euro you earn!

      Subsidised employee housing makes perfect sense.

      1. Spaghetti Hoop

        Some of us would prefer to pay a mortgage and actually own our homes after 25-30 years, not have Tesco et al bundle a house into their compensation package only to take it off ya and present it to your replacement after x number of years.

          1. Rob_G

            What happens when you get fired – you are both unemployed and homeless (which I know also happens with regular housing, but at least not instantaneously)…

            You could be obliged to move home each time you change jobs…

            Would you be allowed carry out significant renovations on your new home (presumably not without the approval of your landlord, who also happens to be your boss…)

            – it’s not a bad idea in theory, but I think reasons such as the above is why it is not something that is seen very often.

    4. DavidT

      “Seriously, the onus on employers is to provide a salary weighted to the cost of living in the residential radius of the place of work.”

      Yes but we have neoliberalism, put their with out votes and our money, which doesn’t give a flying about your sensible attitude.

  3. Frilly Keane

    Tescos would be better served giving their employees daycent contracts and binning zero hours for anyone beyond the age of 25 – fulltime, there over a year etc – whatever fits best

    Guinness built houses for their employees, like Mills, Textile Factories, and Mining Operations the world over, in a time when there was no Social Welfare/ Social Security, or even Unions and Workers representatives
    also in a time when Land and labour were cheap, and building costs were just materials and labour – not swamped with Planning, Compliance, Regulations, Fire Consultants, Insurance for everything from the Driver in the cement lorry to the Health & Safety lad doing a site inspection

    and I sincerely hope you were joking about Mickie O’Leary
    fcuk knows what deductions he’d make

    Ah here, typical BS, you haven’t a fcuking clue

    ara organise a march there and put a media team together

    and blame the banks, the politicians, the property owners

    FFS, why should I be made feel greedy for owning property
    and why should I be accused of being “one of them” just cause I pay my mortgage
    or think occupying a property that has not had Rent or Mortgage paid in 6 years should be made available to the market
    Or that Problem Tenants need to be booted out, and again, releasing that property to the next tenant

    You see the problem here is Antone is that you think you have a better solution and better ideas

    We don’t need new ideas
    We need to make non-performing, idle, in limbo etc properties available to the market quicker, faster, cheaper, and introduce more consistent treatments around the different jurisdictions, and lenders
    Fact

    a few examples for the reality in front of County Registrars every day of the week
    A former family home , with the owners effed off back to Lithuania, collecting rent, and not paying their lender, their Property Tax, their management fees FOR YEARS :
    A former family home – monster bungalow near a motorway on family land kinda stuff, where the joint and severals have gone their separate ways : half a million thats collecting interest and charges is only putting the owners/ debtors/ defendents further into debt and potentially forcing them into a Bankruptcy Petition
    Or the Family Home, that got into arrears, and now they’ve taken advice from Land Leaguers, Hub, Direct Democracy or whatever band of cranks butt in: They can fight it out of 10 years no problem; but it doesn’t stop the Debts rising – again forcing people into insolvency/ Bankruptcy

    This country needs a more efficient, and consistent way of handing back these onerous properties that does not take 5 years plus of legal costs added on to the distressed Mortgage holders
    These country needs a more properties released from legal quagmires and trenches that are just filled with muck,
    all those needing homes will be the beneficiaries, FACT

    and ya know what, its the lawyers that are never out of pocket

    1. Lord Snowflakee

      What a rant

      You have some good ideas at times

      Why can’t you please take a little effort to put them into plainer English?

  4. The Real Chris

    Pay your employees decently and they could do what they like, instead of further attempts at micro managing the lives of the wage slaves with a we know this and we know that smile and wink of the corporate meddler.

    1. Devine

      Now that’s just nonsense as it would just further fuel the upward only death price spiral’ in the housing and rental markets. It’s the usual ignorant approach taken by the lefties. They assume if you increase wages that the market will remain static. It won’t.

      Evidence shows that housing and rental prices increase to match pay increases.

      Put simply, the increase is lost in the transfer, and the employee returns to stage 1.

      1. Pat Harding

        Nonsensical is a situation where a middle income employees working in the tech sector are paying high rents to a private landlords out of net income, while at the same time paying high income tax, a large proportion of which is going to pay rent supplements to the same private landlords ‘to provide’ slum accommodation to people on low incomes.

        It’s crazy when you think about it?

      2. Louislefronde

        Firstly, I’m Canadian and not French, although French is my first language. My comment wasn’t directed at Antoine, but at that illiterate pig savage Frilly Keane who seems to be murdering the English language.

        Antoine’s idea for the Homegiving trust is great and as noted in a previous post Facebook and Google (among others) are building homes for their employees. This in itself is interesting as it is a move back towards Company Towns, also the accommodation provides units for people from the area in these mixed developments.

        The point I think is being made is that this is a positive move and more employers should be encouraged to do the same. Naturally, there will be resistance from those who are profiting from the ‘private market’ and from those who have been conditioned by Socialists into thinking that only governments can provide social and affordable homes, which is not the case.

        My experience in Ireland is there’s a lot of shouting and negging when positive ideas are put into play. I find the people who are most resistant have a vested interest or are just plain ignorant. But, they can be easily be pushed aside especially on this subject.

        There are plenty of company towns in Canada, and what’s more, several more are in the offing. We know that the 90’s trend of leaving the property market exclusively in the hands of private developers is a bad idea, we learned this lesson in the 80’s. Also, unlike Ireland, our Canadian banks were properly regulated and didn’t require a bailout like your Irish equivalents who were funding speculation in commercial and residential developments all over the place, including Bulgaria?

        Antoines proposal is not a silver bullet, but would be useful in correcting current market distortion.

  5. Devine

    O’Leary is an accountant like myself, and he would know that increasing home and rental prices fuels wage increase demands. It would be economically more sensible to build an apartment block and write off the capital cost against tax, then to continuously increase pay to meet house price and rental inflation.

    In an employer driver rent-to-purchase scheme, deductions can be made at source from the employees salary, guaranteeing payment which of course will be significantly lower than what an employee will have to pay a bank or a private landlord.

    If the tax system is reconfigured (away from the penalty now imposed on an employees benefiting from employer provided accommodation) it can be a win-win situation for both employers and employees alike.

  6. Enter Sandman

    This reads like those leather jacket posts where his imaginary friends come out of the woodwork to provoke a reaction

  7. Paps

    HAHAHAHAHAHA, you realize Arthur is dead, about as dead as this idea is.

    The absolute nonsense of this is hurting my head… Apple… buying their shell company employees houses? Areyableedinmad?

    Seriously…

  8. Mary Jane

    Interesting that the guy who is responsible for Project Managing Facebook’s Menlo Park Apartment complex is originally from Cork!

    His name is Fergus O’Shea, and he is a graduate of Quantity Surveying from Cork Institute of Technology. I wonder whether it would be possible for Broadsheet to get his thoughts on the build and how it works.

    It seems to me that schemes like this could work very well, and limit the exposure of employees to an unscrupulous property market, where many of the builds during The Celtic Tiger were substandard as has been evidenced by the recent revelations about The Beacon in Sandyford, and Priory Hall just to mention two.

    Nearly 60% of my income monthly goes towards paying a mortgage for a place which increased 400% from the time it was built in 1994 and when I purchased it in 2006 which was a result of the credit fuel injected property market. If my employer was in a position to have provided a home at less, I would have bitten the hand off him and said yes please.

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