Time for a Radical Alternative Housing Policy

I was astounded over the last number of days to see surprise expressed by Fianna Fail and Fine Gael about the Tax Avoidance measures enjoyed by Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs). For heaven’s sake, they designed them!  Now, either they did not know what they were doing, or they were persuaded of the merits by vested interests, that these Investment Vehicles were good for the nation. 

Either which way, they must OWN IT! 

They must OWN the consequences of throwing hardworking families under the property bus of the speculators they facilitated with their fiscal policies. These investment firms don’t pay Capital Gains Tax, they don’t pay corporation tax and they don’t pay any tax on their rent roll.

So let’s have a look at the housing predicament in Mayo! More and more working people have seen the prospect of home ownership or a permanent social house. People have no choice but to rent. Too many hardworking individuals, couples and families just can’t afford to buy a home. Yet, they do not qualify for social housing.

The income thresholds for social housing are completely unrealistic. They are far too low.

A couple with two children must earn no more than €27,500 euro to qualify. This leaves so many working families caught between not qualifying for social housing and not being able to afford their own home.

Even if you qualify, you are stuck on the waiting list for years and years. This has had the effect of pushing more and more people into the rental market. A rental market that in many parts of the country such as Mayo simply cannot deal with the demand.

People cannot find places to rent. This is even more difficult for people who qualify for HAP or RAS. The failure of the government to deliver affordable rental accommodation and social housing has led to this crisis. A crisis where many workers and families simply do not know where to turn.

As of this morning there were 47 properties in the whole county of Mayo to rent on Daft.ie. 47 properties for a county with a population of 130,000…

The current rental crisis was designed by a combination of Fianna Fail and Fine Gael. Does anyone really think they are going to fix it? We need a radical alternative housing policy that recognises the right to a home.