Over 25,000 sign petition for Government to scrap tax breaks for cuckoo funds and build public homes 4 months ago

Over 25,000 sign petition for Government to scrap tax breaks for cuckoo funds and build public homes

The Cabinet is set to meet this morning to discuss the issue of investors buying up homes.

More than 25,000 people have signed a petition calling for the Government to scrap tax breaks for cuckoo funds, build public homes, strengthen tenant rights and put the right to a home in the constitution.

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The petition has been delivered to the Cabinet ahead of its meeting this morning where Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien and Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe are to bring proposals to prevent the bulk purchase of housing estates by investment funds.

Started by Dr Rory Hearne, an Assistant Professor at Maynooth University, the petition demands a radical change in housing policy and calls for the Government to:

  • Scrap investor tax breaks, scrap REIT tax,
  • Impose investor tax of 50% on profits,
  • Restrict the sale of new developments to individual home buyers and not for profits,
  • Build public and affordable homes on huge state lands,
  • Add a right to housing into our Constitution,
  • Remove landlords' ability to evict tenants for sale and no-fault evictions.

Describing the housing crisis as a "social catastrophe", the petition also highlights additional measures that could curb the cuckoo funds and help make housing more affordable.

These include a vacant and derelict homes tax, a doubling of the capital spend on building public social and affordable homes and implementing a rent freeze on new and existing homes.

In a statement on Tuesday morning, Hearne said the Cabinet must be aware that the public is opposed to the increased role of cuckoo fund investors buying up homes and then "renting them out at unaffordable rents".

He stated: "First-time buyers, people looking to buy a home, people seeking to rent an affordable home and local authorities and AHBs looking to buy social housing are all negatively affected by these real estate investor funds buying up houses and apartments.”

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Campaign group Uplift supported the petition, with its Deputy Director Emily Duffy adding: "My generation was told that we could either leave Ireland or accept a terrible quality of life of unaffordable housing, insecure jobs and underfunded primary health care.

"Now, as many of us look to put down roots, we are once again being told that there is no room in Ireland for us - while Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil continue to support the interests of corporate investors and landlords over that of ordinary people who want to have a secure home and a stable community... It’s time for them to build public homes we can all afford, and end tax breaks for the rich, or they’ll very rapidly become even more politically irrelevant with younger generations."

In Tuesday's Cabinet, it is reported that Minister O'Brien will set out proposals to issue a circular to local authorities which would ban them from granting planning for developments of houses that could be sold in bulk to investment funds and to ring-fence a proportion of new developments for first-time buyers and other purchasers.

Minister Donohoe is said to be bringing taxation plans to Cabinet which could see investment funds charged stamp duty on certain residential purchases.