Campaigners have warned that stringent rent controls are needed in order to prevent many tenants being priced out of the market.
The We’re Not Leaving movement, which campaigns on issues related to young people, released a manifesto proposing that increases in rent should be limited to 10 per cent over a three year period.
The group propose that rent control in Ireland be remodelled to match the German system. This system uses an annually updated rental index which takes into account factors such as how desirable a neighbourhood is and the quality of facilities available to a tenant. A recommended price of rent is then released. Landlords can face legal action if they charge rent excessively above the index price.
Fr. Peter McVerry, who spoke at the launch, called on the government to implement the controls in order to stop a “tsunami” of homelessness in Dublin and across the country.
The group are also seeking better conditions for young people who are renting. Their proposal launch was accompanied by an exhibition highlighting young people and the appalling conditions they experienced in their rental homes. An NCT-style minimum standard for rental properties is one of the group’s main proposals.
A recent report from the Private Residential Tenancies Board stated that rent control could make the problem worse by having fewer houses available to rent. Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly is also opposed to rent control, preferring instead to focus on increasing housing supply as a means of easing the prices.
Rent controls were abolished in Ireland in the mid 1980’s after they were found to be unconstitutional.