Sinn Féin have come in for criticism for their proposal that a tax break equivalent to one month’s rent be granted to those renting from private landlords. Workers’ Party local representative Éilis Ryan today (Monday) said the tax break was a return to Celtic Tiger Fianna Fáil politics, and amounted to a public handout for greedy landlords.
“Sinn Féin’s proposals to grant a tax break equivalent to one month’s rent to every individual in the private rented sector is nothing short of a handout for landlords. It is effectively accepting the right of landlords to charge exorbitant rents, and making it the state’s responsibility to close the gap between what tenants can afford and what landlord’s believe they are entitled to be paid.
“Not only will the proposal cost the public purse €279 million. It is also grossly inequitable, enabling households able to afford higher rents to access a greater tax break than those who can’t afford higher rents.”
“The proposal bears remarkable similarity to proposals implemented by Fianna Fáil during the so-called ‘Celtic Tiger’ era, in which private rental sector tenants were entitled to a tax break which kept landlord income high via a public subsidy.
“This is a case of Sinn Féin rolling out the traditional Irish solution to an Irish problem – ‘throw a tax break at it.’ What is being sold as a good deal for hard pressed tenants is in reality a mechanism to keep rents up for landlords.”
“Those on the left must focus its energies on driving down rents through a massive public housing building programme, and through radical state intervention in the private rented sector.
“The Workers’ Party’s detailed housing programme, ‘Public Housing for All,’ lists extensive measures which would drive down rents – for example the introduction of maximum allowable rents for new lettings – linked to average income levels, not current market rents – and rent review procedures for households paying unaffordable rents. These measures cannot be implemented alongside a programme of handouts for landlords – which is, in effect, what the tax break scheme is.”