The Strangford Assembly Member said: “Landlords’ exemption from rates must be ended now. Older people are going to be dealt a devastating blow by these rates hikes, yet currently, wealthy landlords with students in their houses have a rates ‘get-out clause’.
“Landlords who have students living in their houses will be free from paying rates because students are given exemptions which they give to their landlords.
“Landlords’ exemption from rates leads to the creation of more houses of multiple occupancy (HMOs). Anything which benefits landlords over everyone else will create more HMOs and will push house prices out of the range of first time buyers.
“Some areas of Belfast have been hit hard by HMOs and local first time buyers are being priced out of the housing market.
“Rates hikes penalise older people and anyone on low incomes. The unjust rates system must be scrapped and replaced with a fair income tax. The Alliance solution to the rates crisis is fair because it is directly linked to people’s ability to pay.”