Did Leo Varadkar Call Rent Freeze A "Nightmare Scenario"?

Did Leo Varadkar Call Rent Freeze A “Nightmare Scenario”?

Did Leo Varadkar – the Irish Tánaiste – warn against introducing a rent freeze, because that would be a nightmare scenario for landlords?

Find out why it has gone viral on social media, and what the facts really are!

 

Claim : Leo Varadkar Called Rent Freeze A Nightmare Scenario!

A post by Dr Harold News has gone viral, claiming that the Irish Tánaiste, Leo Varadka warned against any rent freeze, calling it a nightmare scenario for landlords.

Leo Varadkar warns introducing a rent freeze could create a ‘nightmare scenario’, where landlords would be forced to sell their extra houses, which would then drive house prices down, allowing low-income people to get on the property ladder.

It went viral on social media, with people sharing it as an example of a politician who is out of touch with the common people, with comments like :

  • Can’t have those low-income folks have access to housing, won’t somebody please think of those poor landlords. . . .
  • You can just say “We don’t like the poors” and call it a day.
  • But what about rich people’s yacht money?
  • Y’all simp so hard for the rich and landlords. You love to be oppressed.
  • He misspelled “perfect scenario”
  • Ooooh how teeeerrible. Are you telling me I might be able to… buy a house?  This sucks!
  • Is this guy human? I really cant tell…

 

Truth : Viral Leo Varadkar Claim Is Just Political Satire

The truth is the viral Leo Varadkar claim about a rent freeze being a nightmare scenario for landlords is fake, and is just political satire.

Here are the facts…

Fact #1 : Dr Harold News Creates Political Satire

Dr Harold News is a primarily a Twitter account, with a Facebook page, that creates Irish political satire.

It’s clearly stated in the description of the Twitter account :

FAKE news, MADE-UP quotes, and topical SATIRE from Dr Harold.

And the description of the Facebook page, which is also labelled as a Satire Page :

FAKE news, photos, memes, and comment from Dr Harold, the man who once featured on the cover of Douglas Weekly

Fact #2 : Leo Varadkar Did Not Call Rent Freeze A Nightmare Scenario

In September 2021, Irish opposition parties called for a three-year rent freeze, claiming that the average tenant was paying €4,000 a year more in rent due to excess inflation.

It is true that Leo Varadkar was against that rent freeze, but he did not call the rent freeze proposal a “nightmare scenario” that would force landlords to sell their extra houses.

Fact #3 : Leo Varadkar Backed Rent Control

Instead of a rent freeze, Leo Varadkar backed rent control, which linked rents to inflation, instead of freezing it outright.

As per the Irish Times, he stated several reasons for backing rent control, instead of a rent freeze :

  • “One person’s rent is another person’s income – it might be their pension, it might be how they pay their mortgage”
  • The vast majority – 86% of landlords – have either one or two properties.
  • The number of available rental properties was falling.
  • Linking rents to inflation was a rent freeze in real terms.
  • A rent freeze could mean that some people may not be able to pay their mortgage when interest rates rise.

Before rent control was instituted, landlords could only increase rental by up to 4% per year in rent pressure zones.

Fact #4 : Property Value + Rental Tied To Demand + Supply

It is understandable why the satirical post went viral. Anger at rental increases is a tale as old as time.

But the truth is – property value and rental rates have always been tied to demand and supply.

If there is no demand or there is excess supply, property values and rental rates will decline no matter what the landlords may desire.

Similarly, if there is high demand and/or limited supply, competition drives up property value and rental rate.

Fact #5 : Tenants Have Flexibility

It is easy to blame landlords, but tenants have one big advantage – they can always shift to more affordable locations, while landlords are literally stuck with their investments.

Tenants should take advantage of that flexibility, and move to where makes most financial sense. It is, in effect, a form of rent control.

 

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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.

 

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