Home > Uncategorized > FORMAL DECLARATION OF NATIONAL HOUSING EMERGENCY BY GOVERNMENT NEEDED TO STOP EVICTIONS, REPOSSESSIONS, TERMINATION OF TENANCIES

FORMAL DECLARATION OF NATIONAL HOUSING EMERGENCY BY GOVERNMENT NEEDED TO STOP EVICTIONS, REPOSSESSIONS, TERMINATION OF TENANCIES

People Facing  Homelessness Should Know:

Those who opposed the Amendment of Seamus Healy TD to the Housing Bill are responsible-these included Jan O’Sullivan Labour, Michael Noonan Fine Gael,-Willie O’Dea Fianna Fáil abstained and ALL THEIR PARTY COLLEAGUES

GOVERNMENT DEFEATS Amendment Calling For Formal Declaration of a National Housing Emergency with Support of Independent Alliance and Labour Party, Greens and the Abstention of Fianna Fail and Rural Independents

Housing Minister Coveney explained to the Dáil that he was advised by Attorney General Mara Whelan that due to the protection of private property clause in the Irish  Constitution the imposition on private property owners had to be “proportional”.

Accordingly he insisted that the property owner could evict tenants on sale of the property  unless the  the number of dwellings  being sold exceeded ten dwellings. The  landlord could also insist on the tenant leaving if the sale price with vacant possession exceeded the sale price with a continuing tenant by more than 20%

Seamus Healy TD pointed out that the protection of private property in the Constitution is not absolute but is subject to the public good. Accordingly the declaration of a national housing emergency would enable   all tenants to be protected. The government had already declared a national financial emergency which enabled private property in pensions to be confiscated. But it was refusing to make a similar declaration in the matter of housing which would enable tenants to keep a roof over their heads

Amendment to Housing Bill to Prevent Evictions by Seamus Healy TD

Deputy Seamus Healy: I move amendment No. 53:

In page 38, between lines 2 and 3, to insert the following:

“29. Dáil Éireann formally declares that a housing emergency exists in the State and while this emergency continues the right of any person to remain in the dwelling in which the person currently resides will take precedence over any property right of any other person—

(a) accordingly no court or other authority shall order the removal of the current occupant of a dwelling, or by its decisions enable such removal notwithstanding the provisions of any Act currently in force including the provisions of the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act 2013,

(b) the housing emergency declared in this section can only be terminated by a vote of Dáil Éireann, and the Government, including any Minister of the Government, are precluded from annulling the housing emergency without approval in such a vote,

(c) in view of the housing emergency declared here, the power of any Minister of Government to raise the market value threshold of €75,000 for single or multiple dwellings for consideration of possession of dwellings cases by the Circuit Court by activating or commencing sections of existing Acts without approval by a vote of Dáil Éireann, is cancelled.”.

I will speak particularly to amendments Nos. 53 and 80. The former concerns the declaration of a housing emergency; the latter is the Focus Ireland amendment regarding buy-to-let properties and the eviction of tenants on the sale of such properties.

The Government proposals in the Bill will mean that tenants in buy-to-let properties being sold by landlords will have to leave the property if the landlord can get at least 20% more in the sale price with vacant possession than with continuing tenants. At a time of a huge lack of housing, it is lawful under the Bill to evict a tenant in order that the landlord can secure 20% extra on a sale, which is outrageous. It is cruel and anti-human. Focus Ireland tells us that a third of homeless people have had to leave buy-to-let properties on the sale of those properties. Children in these cases must go to a hotel, temporary accommodation, hostel accommodation or other unsuitable accommodation in order that a landlord can make more money from a sale. This situation is dealt with in other jurisdictions to the effect that on the sale of a property by a landlord, the tenancy continues. We simply must ensure that such a measure is adopted here and that tenants are treated reasonably, fairly and respectfully and that they are not thrown out on the road when buy-to-let landlords sell properties. There are already 2,500 children and 6,800 adults who are homeless. We are adding to these figures and we simply must stop that.

This is all in the context of the Government itself evicting householders and families through the banks it owns, namely, AIB, PTSB and EBS. In response to a question asked at a recent Oireachtas finance committee meeting, a representative of AIB said 2,879 court hearings relating to owner-occupied mortgage debt were in progress at the end of June of this year and 767 orders for possession had been granted. This has been widely reported in the press and was dealt with at the committee. We own Allied Irish Banks. The Minister can instruct the bank not to continue with repossessions. Such repossessions are adding to our housing crisis and emergency.

This year is the 100th anniversary of 1916. The first Dáil in 1919 proclaimed:

We declare in the words of the Irish Republican Proclamation the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland, and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies to be indefeasible, and in the language of our first President. Pádraíg Mac Phiarais, we declare that the Nation’s sovereignty extends not only to all men and women of the Nation, but to all its material possessions, the Nation’s soil and all its resources, all the wealth and all the wealth-producing processes within the Nation, and with him we reaffirm that all right to private property must be subordinated to the public right and welfare.

The 1916 Proclamation reads, “We declare the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies, to be sovereign and indefeasible.”

We have an absolute housing emergency. The Minister has acknowledged this on numerous occasions. However, he and his Government refuse to have such an emergency declared in Dáil Éireann. They are prepared to declare a financial emergency and have done so and extended that emergency in June to ensure cuts to the pay and pensions of public service workers but they refuse to declare an emergency to ensure that families have roofs over their heads, that evictions are stopped and that we have rent certainty and security of tenure. Unfortunately, not alone will the Bill before us not help the situation, but it will make matters worse. It is a pretence. As I said earlier, tenants can be removed from buy-to-let properties in the circumstances I have outlined. We need to stop this. We need to support the Focus Ireland amendment to ensure that tenants, on the sale of these buy-to-let properties by landlords, remain in their properties and that we do not add to the already very difficult and traumatic situation faced by families and children.

The declaration of a housing emergency by this Dáil is absolutely necessary to ensure we can deal with the housing emergency and to ensure the right to a roof over one’s head takes priority over private property. Everything else in the Bill and the many other suggestions, such as the rent strategy, are all very fine but they do not deal fundamentally with the problem we have. The declaration of a housing emergency is required to stop, as I said, the evictions, to ensure rent certainty and rent control and to build local authority houses.

This Government and previous Governments have refused to build local authority houses since about 2002. They privatised the local authority housing. Local authorities have not been allowed to build houses since about 2002. I think 75 houses were built last year. In the 1970s, we built up to 10,000 local authority houses every year. We simply must get back to this level of building because there are huge numbers of families out there who will never be able to buy their own home. Because of the manner in which families now get on local authority lists – or maybe do not – a very significant section of the population neither qualifies for a loan or a mortgage nor to get on the local authority list. They are caught in the middle with absolutely no support whatever. They cannot rub two euro together. They exist, unfortunately, from hand to mouth. I meet them every day of the week, as I am sure many, if not all, Deputies meet similar people. They are caught in a situation in which they neither have a mortgage nor are they on a local authority housing list. The income limit for local authority housing lists has been slashed, as has the number of local authority mortgages and bank mortgages given out to people who are effectively working but who are the working poor. These people find themselves paying astronomical and extortionate rents in many cases. I came across a case recently in which a landlord had increased the rent from €560 per month to €750 per month, and that is not the only case. Rents are simply unaffordable for everybody, but particularly for this category of people who do not even qualify for the HAP scheme, as bad as the HAP scheme is.

Deputy Catherine Connolly TD and Barrister:

Catherine Connolly:  “I agree with Deputy Seamus Healy on the need for the Government to declare a national emergency. He has asked for it as have I and other Dáil colleagues. Although there is a national housing emergency, the Government has not declared it.”

VOTE ON CALL FOR DEClaration of Housing Emergency

Amendment put:

The Dáil divided: Tá, 34; Staon, 24; Níl, 59.

Staon Níl
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Information on Catherine Connolly   Zoom on Catherine Connolly   Connolly, Catherine. Information on Shane Cassells   Zoom on Shane Cassells   Cassells, Shane. Information on Ciaran Cannon   Zoom on Ciaran Cannon   Cannon, Ciarán.
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Information on David Cullinane   Zoom on David Cullinane   Cullinane, David. Information on John Curran   Zoom on John Curran   Curran, John. Information on Simon Coveney   Zoom on Simon Coveney   Coveney, Simon.
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Tellers: Tá, Deputies Seamus Healy and Ruth Coppinger; Níl, Deputies Regina Doherty and Tony McLoughlin.

Amendment declared lost.

The Dáil divided: Tá, 34; Staon, 24; Níl, 59.

Tá  Independent Seamus Healy,Rural Independent Michael Collins, Sinn Féin,AAA, PBP,Independents 4 Change

Formal Abstention, Fianna Fail

Against     LABOUR, INDEPENDENT ALLIANCE (Including Finian McGrath), Rural Independent Michael Fitmaurice, Indepenent Michael Lowry, Fine Gael

Missing : Rural Independent Mattie McGrath,Independent Dr Harty,  D Healy Rae, M Healy Rae, John Halligan (Independent alliance),Some FF and FG Deputies also missing

 

Limerick families facing eviction as fund seeks to sell off city apartments

 CLLR JOHN GILLIGAN BLASTS TERMINATION NOTICE AS ‘TOTALLY IMMORAL’

 

Nick Rabbitts

Limerick Leader 20 Apr 2017

esidents Alex Grigorjeus, Alan McCarthy and Ryan Mowat with Cllr Gilligan

UP to 14 families are facing eviction from their homes in Limerick city as their new landlord seeks to sell on the apartments.

Residents in a number of two bed apartments at Fishermans Quay at the Grove Island woke up on Good Friday morning to notices informing them they had to leave their homes on various dates throughout the summer.

The letters sent on behalf of their landlord, Munster Pensioner Trustees Ltd, state that due to the fact they intend selling the property, the current tenants must “vacate and give up possession of the dwelling”.

The Leader understands the pension fund purchased the properties earlier this year.

Residents have pledged to fight to stay in their homes and have gained the support of local Independent councillor John Gilligan, who said that while the landlord’s action is legal, “it’s almost certainly immoral”.

Alan McCarthy, who lives with his only son Daniel, 19, in one of the apartments, said once he received the termination notice he “couldn’t stop being sick”.

“My whole life has been turned upside down. I had just come back from walking on the Canal Bank and a poor swan had hit the wire. I had to dive him to save him from drowning. I thought I had my good deed done for the day. But no good deed goes unpunished apparently,” he said.

Alan – who pays rent of €550 a month – added: “I think it’s all about money. Someone is trying to make a fast buck at our expense”.

The Property Price Register, the national database of all residential sales, currently lists two apartments as sold at Fishermans Quay. One sold for €111,000, the other for €89,300, both in the last month.

A number of other apartments in the complex are on the market from €100,000, while a unit there was recently listed for rent at €900 per month.

Alan also criticised the timing of the letter, adding: “It just suggests a total lack of any heart. I’m not particularly religious, but on Good Friday – come on! That’s not particularly nice.”

The letter was dated Thursday, April 13, but Alan says he received it the following morning.

Ryan Mowat, 20, has lived in the complex for five years with his father Andy.

He said: “We were shocked, and taken aback. We’ve been living here the last five years and have never been happier.

“To get a letter telling us to pack up and go – because we don’t want you – is not right.”

Cllr Gilligan condemned the letters, saying: “These people will have no place to go. These people have the indignity of being kicked out on the side of the road.

“These are hard working decent families who should not be treated like this. Nobody should accept this kind of treatment by a faceless individual.”

Munster Pensioner Trustees Ltd – which has an address in Castletroy – referred queries from the Leader onto the management firm in the area Kersten Mehl Property Management.

Mr Mehl said: “We have managed this complex for the last eight years. I received instructions to issue these notices on a number of two bedroom apartments, as the landlord wished to sell them.”

While local residents claim 14 apartments are subject to these notices, Mr Mehl said that number is closer to eight.

 

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