Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Housing Barry Cowen TD says his party supports measures to tackle rental inflation and increase the supply of accommodation.
Deputy Cowen made the comments after submitting a set of comprehensive proposals to the Department of Housing's Strategy on the Rented Sector.
“The latest Daft.ie rental report highlights that the housing market is experiencing a major crisis. People’s standard of living is being eroded due to excessive rent inflation which is putting enormous pressure on family incomes. The current rate of rental inflation simply is not sustainable. It is leading to increased homelessness and is putting our economic stability and competiveness at stake,” explained Deputy Cowen.
“In light of this there is a clear need to introduce measures to limit rent inflation in the short to medium term until the supply of housing increases. Fianna Fáil believes there is a need to introduce new Rent Certainty Regulations. These would anchor any future rent increase to a ‘rental index’ based on a 5 year historic average of rents in each local authority.
“We support the proposal put forward by the National Economy Social Council (NESC) for a ‘flexible market sensitive model of rent regulation’. Our proposal will anchor rents to a local market historic average and would apply to both existing tenancies as well as for new tenancies. Rents could only deviate within a 10 per cent range of this index.
He said the difference between this model and traditional rent controls is that by linking to a historic local market average, rents do not become completely divorced from the dynamics of the market adding that he local average acts as a ‘dragging anchor’ that helps to prevent excessive annual increases and moderate inflation.
“Our submission also includes a number of measures to increase housing supply. These include affordable financing for new build-to-rent units and incentives for landlords to enter into long term leases. We also want to introduce an Empty Property Refurbishment Grant to return some of the 260,000 vacant properties to the market.
“The crisis in the private rental sector is gathering pace by the day. I believe the proposals we have outlined will help overcome this crisis by providing certainty for tenants and increasing overall housing supply.”