asked the Minister for Justice whether it is his intention to introduce proposals for the purpose of amending or superseding the Rent (Restriction) Acts and, if so, whether he is prepared in framing such proposals to take into account (a) the difficulty of relating an existing rent to a standard rent settled in 1914, i.e., 27 years ago; (b) the equity in view of a recent decision of Dáil Eireann in relation to wages of stabilising rents for the duration of the emergency at the figures prevailing in August, 1939; (c) the imperative need of providing during the emergency for the uninterrupted continuance of existing tenancies, and (d) the desirability of making provision to prohibit the execution of a decree for possession where the tenant of a dwelling-house is unable to pay his rent because of circumstances arising out of the emergency; further, whether he will say if it is proposed to introduce such proposals before the Summer Recess.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Rent Restriction.
The matter referred to at (a) in the question is one which has been dealt with in the reports recently presented by the Town Tenants Tribunal, and I do not propose to take any action in that regard until the reports have been published and fully considered. The remaining matters, referred to at (b), (c) and (d), arise out of the present emergency situation, and, as regards these matters, I would refer the Deputy to my answer to the similar question asked by him on the 5th June last.
Will the Minister take any steps to speed up the publication of the reports, and hasten the period when we can remove whatever is standing in the way of safeguarding unfortunate tenants from the rapacity of landlords? Is he not aware of the widespread activities in relation to purchasing houses and making ground rent investments and subsequently charging new tenants increased rents? Is he aware of the refusal of landlords to renew tenancies unless under exorbitant conditions? Is there anything wrong with instituting standstill provisions in respect to people whose earnings have been limited by Government order, and affording them some method of protection from the rapacity of landlords? Must we wait indefinitely for these reports?
The reports are in the hands of the printers. I understand that the proofs are being revised. The Government have not yet considered the reports. We got rather bulky reports in Roneoed form. I am trying to get them as quickly as I can from the printers. How soon the Government will be able to deal with the matter, I cannot say.
How many years after the emergency has passed will the Government be able to announce that they have considered the reports?
They cannot consider them until they get them and read through them.
Will the Minister agree that the Rent Restriction Acts are altogether out of date, and are, to a large extent, useless?
That is another matter.
A Minister may not be asked for an expression of opinion. Supplementary questions must be confined to matters of fact.
One might regard what I have indicated as a fact.
Even that might be regarded as a matter of opinion.
Will the Government make some effort to improve conditions for ordinary tenants and, at this juncture, get away from red tape methods?