Leasing homes for landlords to rent to applicants on the housing waiting list is not the way to solve the housing crisis in Galway according to Independent councillor Catherine Connolly.
The Galway City Council is to hold a special council meeting on Monday to deal with the housing crisis and Cllr Connolly believes a number of solutions proposed by City Hall and the Government “border on the bizarre” and should be scrapped in favour of better solutions
The Government has said that while there will be no money to purchase second hand houses, it has made more than €25 million available nationally to facilitate the long term leasing of private houses by councils as the solution to the housing crisis.
The scheme will allow for landlords who have more than four houses to come forward and avail of a 10 and 20 year lease from the council. Applicants on the housing waiting list will be allocated houses under this scheme and their names removed from the waiting list.
Councillor Connolly said this represents “a fundamental shift in housing policy” and “is not based on a reasonable or rational solution” to the crisis.
“Most worryingly it is a policy which is simply grounded on bailing our landlords who now have empty houses on their hands,” she said. “That a Green Minister would be actively promoting such a policy is a scandal.”
She also believes that the scheme will have “the most serious implications” for the security of tenure for the tenant who takes such a house.
“In contrast to tenants for life in social housing, who are entitled to the protection of legislation including the European Convention on Human Rights, the tenant in this proposed leasing scheme will be in a much less protected position with no security of tenure,” she said.
Cllr Connolly said she will not be supporting this scheme but will call upon her fellow councillors to back a public housing construction programme on city council lands which will provide “much needed housing” and “employment in the city”.
She also called on City Hall to look at “more creative ways of using residential zoned land in the city” such as the construction of social houses by housing co-operatives as well as purchasing additional housing as house prices drop