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Landlords are calling for an end to 'illegal rent control'

The Irish Property Owners Association (IPOA) has called for landlords to be treated more fairly.

Image: Dominic Lipinski

PRIVATE LANDLORDS HAVE called on the incoming Housing Minister to address the “serious rupture” in accommodation, as a review of rent caps gets underway.

Speaking following the appointment of Dublin TD Eoghan Murphy as the new Housing Minister, the representative body for private landlords, the Irish Property Owners Association (IPOA), called for landlords to be treated more fairly.

“Various ministers over the past six years have caused a serious rupture in the provision of private rental accommodation,” said IPOA chairman Stephen Faughnan.

All we have to do is look at recent history to see the damage that was caused by lack of forward thinking in Government over that time.

Faughnan pointed to high taxes and “housing allowances not keeping pace with the realty of the housing market” as two areas of concern. He also took aim at the 4% per year rent caps that were introduced for certain areas at the end of last year.

He called these caps “illegal rent control by another name”.

The rent caps were announced late last year as a means of checking skyrocketing costs in certain designated areas. Areas had to meet certain criteria in order to qualify as rent pressure zones – the rents had to be above a certain limit and rising quickly.

The zones were criticised heavily by landlords on the introduction, for impacting their revenue. Conversely, they were also criticised by housing and homelessness charities for not going far enough in protecting tenants.

Over 57% of all tenancies are now with in rent pressure zones, according to the Housing Department.

New Minister

Eoghan Murphy is taking over the position of Housing Minister from Simon Coveney, who is being moved to the Department of Foreign Affairs.

With the number of homeless people increasing each month, rents rising past peak Celtic Tiger levels, and the demand for housing far outstripping supply, Murphy is faced with a large number of issues to address.

Announcing Murphy’s position in the Dáil yesterday, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said he had instructed him to carry out a review Government’s Housing Action Plan – Rebuilding Ireland – within three months.

“Rebuilding Ireland is working but it may not be enough and so I am tasking him to review it within three months and to consider what additional measures may be required,” said Varadkar.

Including consideration of a greater quantum of social housing build, a vacant home tax and measures to encourage landlords to remain in or enter the rental market.

Review

Separately to this, the Housing Department said yesterday that it was carrying out a review of the rent pressure zones, six months on from their introduction.

This followed the publication of the Residential Tenancies Board’s Rental Index for the first quarter of this year. It showed that rents had gone down in Dublin when compared with the end of last year.

However, it is unclear if this was as result of the rent caps being introduced.

A Department spokesperson said that the review would be carried out to see “the effectiveness of the Rent Predictability Measure and whether any changes need to be made to, for example, the designation process”.

A public consultation of the review was announced yesterday, through which concerned parties will be able to submit their views on the rent pressure zones.

Read: ‘I fought to get clean and to get where I am today’: New apartments in Dublin give hope to homeless people

Read: There are only three Irish counties where the average house price is under €100,000

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Cormac Fitzgerald

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