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Alan 'Jose Mourinho' Kelly's big idea to solve the rent crisis is dead

Labour admits it’s unlikely that rent certainty will form part of the government’s plans.

Alan Kelly was compared to Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho (left) in the Dáil today
Alan Kelly was compared to Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho (left) in the Dáil today
Image: PA/RollingNews.ie

LABOUR HAS THIS evening admitted that the package of measures to address the housing crisis is unlikely to include the form of rent certainty first proposed by Alan Kelly.

A spokesperson for the Tánaiste Joan Burton said this evening that the proposal to link rent increases with the level of inflation for a three-year period is “unlikely to materialise”.

The confirmation will come as a huge blow to the Environment Minister who has championed the proposal since he announced it at the Labour conference in February.

Earlier today in the Dáil, Kelly was compared to controversial Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho for referring to himself in the third person at a recent press event.

During Leaders’ Questions, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said of Kelly:

Worryingly in response – the Jose Mourinho-type response – he goes into the third person and he attacks the ‘cowards’, the ‘anonymous cowards’,  that are leaking against him.

Kelly’s rent certainty plan would have involved index-linking rents which means they would only increase in line with the annual increases in household items – known as the consumer price index.

The Labour deputy leader had wanted to bring in the measure for a period of three years as a temporary solution to soaring rental prices, particularly in Dublin, as more houses were built.

Speaking at the Labour conference in February, Kelly said:

What we’re looking at is a process whereby people can have some certainty as regards rent into the future while [housing] supply is being dealt with.

Sources close to the minister later briefed that the plans would involve landlords not being able to increase rent beyond the rise in the consumer price index.

Increases would only be allowed in circumstances where improvements had been carried out on the property.

screenshot.1446572493.17739 Source: www.thejournal.ie

However Kelly’s proposal met with fierce opposition from Fine Gael and in particular Finance Minister Micheal Noonan. The concerns of the senior coalition partner centred on the potentially negative impact of undue government interference in the housing market.

Yesterday, Noonan and Kelly held what were later described as “constructive and detailed” discussions on measures to tackle the housing crisis.

Measures will include requiring landlords to give 90 days notice of any rental increase, as opposed to the current 30 days. There would also be longer eviction notices and a requirement on landlords to provide justification for rent increases.

5/5/2015. Living City Initiatives Micheal Noonan has opposed Kelly's rent certainty plan Source: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

The Private Residential Tenancies Board is also set to be given enhanced powers to deal with tenant/landlord disputes.

The government is set to finalise proposals in the coming days before an announcement next week. However the matter was not raised at cabinet today.

On the rent certainty proposal, a senior government source said this evening:

That’s unlikely to happen at this stage… There will be other measures and we’re absolutely sure that the package will address both supply and rental issues.

A spokesperson for the Tánaiste insisted this evening that any measures that are announced would be a priority for the government to implement before the election next year.

“Alan Kelly has been very, very clear on this for a long time. The scale of the issue means it has to be addressed as an emergency,” they insisted.

A spokesperson for Kelly said this evening that all measures remain under discussion and that the final package would have to be “commensurate to the size of the problem”.

Read: Alan Kelly’s big idea to solve the rental crisis could be dead in the water

State of the Nation: How on earth will the government solve the rental crisis?

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About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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