Independent TD Mattie McGrath has sharply criticised property insurers who will not provide cover to landlords willing to accept tenants receiving rent allowance. Deputy McGrath was speaking after he had it confirmed that some of the major insurance providers here have an active policy of withholding cover until the landlord finds employed or retired people as tenants:
“This strikes me as bordering on active and completely unjustifiable discrimination.
After contacting the main property insurance companies in the State I was told that the companies underwriters are not prepared at the moment to cover properties that have unemployed tenants.
Is it any wonder then that despite the endless trawl for accommodation there are still desperate people continually coming up against notifications of ‘rent allowance not accepted.’
This puts landlords who are willing to rent to unemployed people in a very onerous position given the fact that if the proceed to allow tenancy they will be massively exposed at the financial level.
Effectively what this means is that landlords who have had no problems with rent allowance tenants are now being penalised for having a social conscience.
In the middle of an enormous catastrophe in social housing and a national crisis in mortgage arrears, this is an aspect of the debate that has been entirely overlooked.
I will be calling on all relevant Ministers, particularly the Minister for the Environment given his tough words at the Labour Party Conference, to immediately intervene in this situation and demand from the Insurance companies and their underwriters a full explanation as to how they can justify such blatant discrimination.
As things stand this a policy that can only contribute to prolonging the unwarranted and ridiculous stigmatisation of families on rent allowance as well as keeping them in unsuitable or impractical accommodation ” concluded Deputy McGrath.