COUNCILLORS shot down a motion calling for the current eviction ban to be extended until the end of the year after an intense debate in the Cork County Council chamber last week.
Several councillors pointed out that they need to keep landlords within the rental sector and the ban could affect this, while others said some property owners wanted to move back into their rental properties.
East Cork-based Cllr Danielle Twomey (Ind) raised the motion and also called for the scope of the ban to be extended to all private rental tenants on a notice to quit.
‘The eviction ban was never a solution to this housing emergency, but it did give breathing space to those in rental accommodation. It is soul destroying for people of my generation to be completely locked out of any hope of home ownership,’ said Cllr Twomey.
Cllr Ross O’Connell (SD) supported her motion and said the lifting of the eviction will further increase homelessness but Cllr Seamus McGrath (FF) said that the eviction ban is creating another form of homelessness for property owners. They have rights too, he said.
Cllr Joe Carroll (FF) said he never agreed with the eviction ban from the first day and he felt it didn’t do any good while in place.
‘We had cases where people abroad who had bought houses couldn’t come back to live in them, and that’s very unfair,’ said Cllr Carroll.
Cllr Alan Coleman (Ind) said the housing crisis will not go away and it needs to be treated as an emergency, and they should ‘cut through the red tape’.
‘It’s going to be a problem in five years, because we have an expanding population and a construction industry that has contracted significantly. I don’t think an ongoing ban is one of the tools we use to tackle this,’ said Cllr Coleman.
‘It’s a blunt instrument that hasn’t worked and we need some of the smaller landlords to stay in the rental market.’ Cllr John Paul O’Shea (FG) said that the ban would have to finish eventually.
‘The landlords I represent are people with one or two houses in towns and we need to keep them in place to ensure we have an effective rental market,’ said Cllr O’Shea. ‘By boxing landlords into a position where they have no authority to move on a tenant or get their house back is not a positive one.’
Cllr Paul Murtagh (FG) said the eviction ban is creating more problems than it’s solving. ‘That ordinary landlord doesn’t want to be involved anymore, as it’s too much hassle and this eviction ban is exacerbating the problem. We need to look elsewhere for solutions,’ said Cllr Murtagh.
Deputy chief executive James Fogarty said this is a national issue that needs a national solution and said the housing issue cannot be solved by Cork County Council alone.
Councillors voted against the motion, despite Cllr Twomey rewording it.