Update: Taoiseach says he did not get help from parents to buy own home

By Elaine Loughlin

Update 2.50pm: The Taoiseach has come out to clarify that he did not receive help to buy his home from his parents and instead got a 100% mortgage.

Speaking in the Dáil yesterday Mr Varadkar appeared to admit that he had received the financial help of his parents in buying his own house.

“It has always been the case that a person needs to raise a deposit to buy a house,” he said.

“People do it in many different ways. Sometimes people go abroad for a period and earn money. Others get money from their parents. Lots of us did," he said looking to his colleagues on the Government benches.

However, Mr Varadkar has now denied he received a hand-out from his parents stating: "As it happens, I didn’t get any help with my deposit when I bought my home. I didn’t need it as I got a 40 year - 100% mortgage from the bank. Of course, I was delighted at the time. But it was bad policy, all that did was drive up house prices more and more and saddle young people with debt and negative equity.

"That’s why I am so alarmed when I hear opposition leaders calling for the government to offer 97% mortgages to people. And it’s why I am so alarmed when I hear opposition spokespeople calling for tax breaks for developers. They have learned nothing."

But the Taoiseach added that raising money for a deposit can be difficult so a lot of people do get help from their families.

Earlier: Govt double staff on phone line to deal with flood of mortgage scheme inquiries

By Elaine Loughlin

The Government is not opposing plans to force landlords to give a minimum of 90 days’ notice to quit a property.

As well as giving tenants more time to find new accommodation, a Bill put forward by the Social Democrats will also provide incoming tenants with access to the amount of rent paid by their predecessors.

The Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Bill will now pass a Dáil vote this week as Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin, Labour, and the Green Party have backed it.

The bill also has the support of national housing charities Focus Ireland, Threshold and the Simon Communities.

While the bill introduces a new minimum notice period of 90 days for all tenancies of less than 12 months, those living in accommodation for between one year and five years would have to be given 120 days’ notice.

Current law requires landlords to give tenants between 28 and 35 days’ notice for those in the first year of their tenancy, with 56 days’ notice for those in tenancies for two to three years.

A spokesman for Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy last night said the Department is considering what can be done without negatively impacting the supply of rental accommodation.

Meanwhile, the Taoiseach has told the Dáil that authorities have been inundated with queries around a new Government-backed mortgage scheme which is intended to provide low-interest loans to first-time buyers who have been refused lending from the banks.

The number of staff manning a special phone line had to be doubled from four to eight after the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan Scheme was announced.

Speaking in the Dáil, Mr Varadkar also appeared to admit that he had received the financial help of his parents in buying his own home.

“It has always been the case that a person needs to raise a deposit to buy a house,” he said. “People do it in many different ways. Sometimes people go abroad for a period and earn money. Others get money from their parents. Lots of us did.

“It has always been the case that a person had to be able to raise a deposit to buy his or her own home, with the exception of one period during the boom when we had 100% loans, which I would not like us to get back to because we know where that led us,” he said adding that this would also be the case for those availing of mortgages through the new Government loan scheme.”

People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett said the scheme will not deliver for the vast majority of those waiting to secure homes.

Speaking at an Irish Congress of Trade Unions housing conference, he said: “With average house prices in Dublin now at over €430,000 — to get a mortgage for this, you would need to be earning €100,000 — it is clear that there is a huge need for affordable housing.:

He said the Government has yet to come up with proposals to stop “private developers sitting on land and forcing prices up and up”.

-This article first appeared in today's Irish Examiner

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