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Housing Crisis

Landlords say rent control is not the answer - bring back bedsits instead

The Government needs to to encourage supply, not restrict it according to landlords.

A GROUP REPRESENTING landlords has said introducing rent control or certainty is not the answer to the housing crisis and has suggested bringing back bedsits as one solution.

The Irish Property Owners’ Association (IPOA) said that State intervention in the private rental sector is what has caused the current supply problems. They said the restriction to mortgage interest relief, and the household and property taxes have resulted in significant losses for landlords.

At the weekend, Minister of Environment Alan Kelly announced plans to tackle the problem of excessively high rents over the next three to four years. He supported a motion to freeze rents in the private sector for the next two years at the Labour party conference but insisted he would not be introducing rent controls in proposals to tackle the crisis.

“I am not talking about rent controls. It’s a different model, this is rent certainty… 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.”

This isn’t going to fix the problem, according to landlords who say the government needs to encourage supply, not restrict it.

They met with the minister last week and suggested a number of alternatives including allowing bedsits to re-open with designated bathrooms for each unit, not necessarily within the unit. New regulations in 2013 effectively banned shared bathrooms and landlord-controlled heating on rented properties, signalling the death of the bedsit as a concept.

Other options the IPOA suggested were:

  • Allowing all mortgage interest paid to the bank to be offset as an expense.
  • Allowing expenses to be offset against rental income.
  • Amending the Residential Tenancies act to make it effective and allow the PRTB more staff to increase dispute efficiency.

According to a recent report, 71% of landlords have insufficient income to pay their mortgage from the rental property and over 38,000 buy-to-lets are in arrears with the banks.

Today, Chairman of the IPOA Stephen Faughan said “rent certainty is not the answer, supply certainty is the answer, increasing supply is essential, and fair tax treatment is the only solution, the root of the problem needs to be addressed or the exodus of landlords from the sector will continue and both tenants and landlord will suffer”.

Read: Alan Kelly has a plan to tackle high rents (but it’s not rent control)>

Read: Would rent control actually solve any of our problems?>

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