IPOA hopes for change in policy towards private landlords

The representative body for private landlords, the Irish Property Owners Association (IPOA ), has given a cautious welcome to the new Government in the hope that policies towards the providers of private rental accommodation will accurately reflect the position on the ground.

In a note to members, IPOA chairman Stephen Faughnan expressed the hope that the three new ministerial roles involved will lead to a complete shake-up in policy, as well as the acknowledgment that private landlords have been "shabbily treated".

In particular, he expressed the hope that the new Minister for Housing, Eoghan Murphy, will use his proven ability to actively support and propose a sensible regime for private landlords across all the relevant Departments, which include the newly amalgamated Department of Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform under Paschal Donohoe, and the revamped Employment and Social Protection Department under Regina Doherty.

"Various Ministers over the past six years have caused a serious rupture in the provision of private rental accommodation," said Mr Faughnan. "All we have to do is look at recent history to see the damage that was caused by lack of forward thinking in Government over that time.

"In finance, we have the absolutely penal taxation imposed on private landlords, the inability to claim legitimate expenses, and the refusal to acknowledge that letting property is a business and should be treated and taxed as a business. And then you have the social protection area with housing allowances not keeping pace with the reality of the housing market.

"And that is before you look at the blatant attempt to further penalise landlords by the ill-thought out introduction of rent pressure zones, which really is illegal rent control by another name."

Mr Faughnan accused the previous Government of "almost encouraging public contempt for private landlords", while at the same time encouraging and supporting international buyers of Irish property through a more generous tax regime for those large commercial landlords who have often acquired the properties from Irish banks at substantial discounts of up to 70 per cent, something that was not available for private owners.

He said this action not only discommoded private landlords but also brought great distress to many tenants.

"I wish the new Government well, and I will give them a chance to bed down," he said. "But I will be seeking the opportunity to meet early and directly with the relevant Ministers so that the IPOA and the Government can work as partners in the provision of suitable accommodation."

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