The Workers’ Party have called for emergency legislation allowing the state to compulsorily purchase, at a discount, the properties of any landlords who fail to suspend rent payments. 

Workers’ Party representative Éilis Ryan called for the measure, saying: 

“We believe there must be an immediate suspension of all mortgage and rent payments, in light of the coronavirus outbreak and its economic impacts. This has already been implemented in other countries.  

“Between March 12th and 16th, one in sixteen workers in Ireland were made redundant. That is 140,000 people now without money to pay next month’s rent. This number will only increase.” 

Ryan continued: 

“Uniquely, Ireland’s private rental system is hugely decentralised, dominated by individuals and under-regulated. In such circumstances, it’s essential the matter of rent suspensions is not left to the discretion of landlords, but is coordinated and implemented centrally by the state.

“This is not just a matter of ensuring unemployed tenants are secure. Rental payments – particularly at the inflated rate they currently are in Ireland – are hugely detrimental to the economy, soaking up cash that could otherwise be used to sustain jobs.” 

She concluded: 

“We have a social housing shortage in this country. Any landlord who fails to comply with the directive to suspend rent payments should have their property CPO’ed immediately, at a hefty discount. 

“This should equally to landlords in receipt of HAP payments – the state cannot afford to subsidise landlords in a crisis such as this.”