Rent Control Scheme passed unanimously in Belfast City Council

A Rent Control Scheme, which the Green Party’s Malachai O’Hara believes would help protect working-class communities from “unscrupulous landlords,” was passed unanimously in Belfast City council.

Following the implementation of the Private Tenancies Bill by the executive, the Scheme was discussed and implemented on the 1st of November. It was proposed by the Green Party’s Malachai O’Hara and seconded by Councillor Áine Groogan.

Councillor O’Hara said in a speech in council that he is “calling for the executive to bring forward legislation for rent control.” The North Belfast councillor stated that the Rent Control Scheme will aim to cap annual rent increases, stop an increase during a tenancy and bringing in a maximum rate.

The Green Party MLA said, “Belfast is the mist of a housing crisis” with 11,675 people being on a housing waiting list at the end of last year. Following the re-location of Ulster University’s Jordanstown campus to North Belfast, councillor O’Hara believes that it will “further exasperate” the housing crisis.

“Long-established working-class communities who already face a chronic housing shortage will be further impacted when some unscrupulous land-lords realise they can make a heftier buck renting to students and young professionals” rather than their “traditional” tenants.

Sinn Fein’s John Gormely said that “having followed the recent debate in the assembly on Deirdre Hargey’s Private Tenancy’s Bill,” the Councillor for Botanic supported the motion.

Matthew Collins from People Before Profit also supported the new motion. “Obviously anyone who represents a working-class area knows the extent to which the housing crisis runs rife across the city and a daily basis.”

The motion was also supported by the DUP’s Dale Pankhurst, who stated that he was “delighted to say that the DUP will be supporting this motion,” and is a Bill “we as a party are keen to support.”

Author profile

Journalism bachelors graduate form the class of 2021. Interested in current affairs and Northern Irish politics and social issues.