Rent increases should be capped and the length of rental contracts regulated by law, the Anti-Poverty Alliance is suggesting in its Budget proposals.

The group wants a legal framework to tame the large increases in rents experienced over the past few years.

It is also calling for a tax rebate scheme for those landlords who bind themselves not to increase rent for 10 years and new rental contracts to be registered.

The alliance called on the government to act and ensure stability returned to the rental market. It also asked for more investment in social housing.

The alliance released its Budget 2018 proposals focused on alleviating hardship on the poor and low to middle income families.

Subsidies should help low wage earners buy their own house

While touching on different issues, the proposals consisted mainly of suggestions to deal with housing problems. The alliance said subsidies should help low wage earners buy their own house from the private sector.

The alliance proposed the creation of a social bank with the primary aim of helping people become home-owners.

The social bank would also help individuals improve their education, support those who want to create jobs and help finance environmental projects.

It said free childcare should be available to vulnerable families and the retail price index, on which the annual wage adjustment occurs, be revised to better reflect inflation on essential products like food and rent. 

In one of the more radical proposals, the alliance called for the introduction of a living wage based on a basket of products and services that afforded families a decent living.

With regards to the labour market, the alliance wants a clear definition of what constitutes “fixed and stable” work. Any work that does not conform to this definition should be considered precarious work, the alliance added.

Job contracts that do not guarantee a minimum number of working hours, known as zero-hour contracts, should be abolished, the alliance proposed.

It also called for the laws regulating work conditions to be strengthened and enforced.

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