42 of the 158 Dail deputies are landlords, representing 26% of elected representatives.
In the two main establishment parties the figure are even higher. 36% of Fine Gael Dail deputies are landlords while one third of Fianna Fail TDs are landlords.
These figures may be an under-estimate as TDs must only register rental income when their share of annual rent exceeds €2,600 a month. They do not have to register properties that their spouses or child own.
With such a high representation of landlords in the Dail, there is a clear bias when it comes to tenants interests.
Landlords have been given many tax breaks because, it is suggested, this will ‘incentivise;’ them to increase supply.
By contrast spending on social housing has been slashed from 3% of GDP to 1% of GDP .
Tenants’ rights are also extremely limited. A tenant can be evicted from a house in the first six months without the need to provide any valid reason.
Even after the six month period, there are a variety of loopholes that landlords can use.
They can claim that a child or a nephew wants to use the property and evict tenants.
They can claim that they are refurbishing the property and evict tenants.
In reality there is no security for tenants in Ireland and the main reason is that landlords are over-represented in the Dail.
We need to change this. There should be a conflict of interest rule that prevents TDs who are landlords voting on issues that could directly benefit or harm their interests,