Statement by the Communist Party of Ireland
4 May 2018
Rising rents are now the norm facing working people, both families and individuals, throughout the country. Figures published today confirm that over the twelve months to the end of March new rentals have risen by an average of 11½ per cent, a new record. The national average monthly rent is now €1,261, an increase of €232 per month over 2008.
In Dublin the situation facing working people is even more severe, with the average rent in March 2018 standing at €1,875, an increase of 12½ per cent in a single year.
Meanwhile the number of places available to rent has declined, with only 3,086 rental properties available nationally. This is the lowest since the record of the property boom and the so-called Celtic Tiger in 2006.
Extortionate rents are not confined to Dublin but apply to all cities and major towns: Cork, €1,210 (up 9½ per cent), Galway, €1,131 (up 13½ per cent), Limerick, €1,044 (up 17 per cent), Waterford, €868 (up 14½ per cent), rest of the country, €883 (up 10 per cent). Workers’ wages have failed to keep up with these rent increases, and working people are being forced to spend more and more of their earnings to keep a roof over their heads. Precarious employment, coupled with precarious shelter, is now becoming a feature of working people’s lives.
The Government and the state at the national and the local level are not interested in solving the housing crisis in favour of the people but rather will continue to pursue a policy of favouring private landlords, both national and international, mortgage lenders, and vulture funds. The state continues to reduce the quality and size of homes that are being built, which can only further line the pockets of builders, developers, and other private property speculators.
It is long past the time for patching up this situation. We need more radical action. We need a massive programme of public house-building, available to all: a universal public housing system.
Tenants in private accommodation need to get organised and build a national campaign for their rights as well as, among other demands, a possible national rent strike to demand rent reductions and greater controls on landlords.