Ferguson backs plan to improve conditions for renters

Sinn Féin MLA Ciara Ferguson has welcomed progress on new housing legislation being brought forward by Deirdre Hargey which aims to improve the rights and safety of tenants in the private rented sector.

The Foyle MLA was commenting after the Private Tenancies Bill passed its second stage on the Assembly floor.

She said: “This legislation has the potential to improve the quality, safety and lives of tenants living within our Private Rented Sector.

“It was a privilege to give my maiden speech on behalf of the Foyle constituency on this important piece of legislation, which will seek to better the quality of life of citizens living in what is now the second largest housing sector in the north.

“This bill aims to extend protection from evictions, improve electrical safety standards; provide for fire, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and better energy efficiency and insulation which will result in lower fuel costs for tenants.

“It will also tackle extortionate rental deposits and to outlaw hikes in rent prices throughout 12-month tenancy agreements.

“The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has shown the importance of secure housing, and this is just the first in a number of proposed new laws being introduced by Sinn Féin Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey, to improve and revitalise our housing sector.

“This is crucial work because housing is a fundamental human right which ultimately provides the building blocks for people’s health, educational and work opportunities, security, stability and relationships alongside social cohesion within our communities, and so much more.”