Rent cap calls as private tenants pay £550 a month for ex council houses in Dungannon

Lisnahull, where some private tenants are paying around �550 a month
Lisnahull, where some private tenants are paying around �550 a month

A Mid Ulster councillor is calling for a rent cap in Dungannon, following revelations that some ex-council houses cost £550 a month to rent.

SDLP representative Denise Mullen told the Times the cost of rent in the town has gotten out of control - leaving many struggling to make ends meet.

But with the huge shortage in social housing, and long waiting lists, locals - who cannot afford to buy their own home - are being forced to rent from private landlords.

“The price of rent in Dungannon is extortionate,” Cllr Mullen told the Times. “People that are renting off private landlords are paying more than for a Housing Executive house and sometimes they are not in good condition.

“I have seen some houses in the town and they are in really bad condition. Some houses have a lot of damp, kitchens falling apart, window latches not working - all those sorts of things.”

Even though the Housing Executive has advised that tenants in such situations can report homes to Environmental Health, she said they worry they could be left homeless.

“They feel there is not a lot they can do,” she added.

“Years ago you used to be able to go to the estate agent and get a house, but now it’s the case that there could be 20 or 30 people looking at the same house.”

A spokesperson from Department for Communities, which oversees landlord registration, said 3,597 landlords in Mid Ulster have registered some 5,991 properties.

“The department is currently carrying out a review of the role and regulation of the private rented sector,” they said. “Regulation of letting agents, fitness and rent control are all issues which are being considered.”