Anyone in rented accommodation should qualify for the tenant-in-situ scheme if the property is being sold, a Fine Gael Senator has said.
Deputy Leader of Seanad Éireann, Regina Doherty, this weekend said she believes the move would benefit both private renters and local authorities by giving certainty to tenants and increasing the social housing supply.
Senator Doherty said she will discuss her proposal with Fine Gael party and Government colleagues in a bid to advance it.
Senator Doherty said: “People on the social housing list have been able to avail of ‘tenant-in-situ’ programmes which enable local authorities to buy over any home where a tenant faces eviction if the owner wishes to sell the property The council takes over the rights and responsibilities of the previous landlord.
“By paying rent to the council, it allows them to stay in their home and ultimately avoid going into emergency accommodation.
“I hold a regular constituency clinic in North County Dublin and – as I’m sure any public representative will attest to – it is clear too many tenants on low and middle incomes, who are not on the social housing list, are falling into homelessness due to inability to afford extortionate rents, despite the eviction ban.
“More people are at risk of homelessness and there must be a safety net to prevent those people from falling through the cracks, through no fault of their own.
“I’m calling for the tenant-in-situ scheme to be expanded to apply to anyone in rented accommodation.
“I’m aware such a departure is broad and would involve a major effort by all stakeholders to ensure it succeeded.
“Tenants could pay their rent to the local authority and be able to stay in the home with a long-term, secure lease.
“Similar to the existing Cost Rental Scheme, such an initiative would be self-financing as tenants would pay rent back to the council.
“Recent figures showing a low uptake by local authorities of the existing tenant-in-situ scheme show that there is massive potential to ramp up this scheme and city and county councils need to step up.
“Expanding the tenant-in-situ scheme would keep many from falling victim to evictions. As a State, we have to provide people with that kind of security,” Senator Doherty concluded.