Tánaiste pushes plan for new regulator to tackle rent rises
The introduction of a new regulator with specific powers to influence the size of rises in rent is being considered at senior Government level.
But the emergence of the plan raises further doubt over Environment Minister Alan Kelly's bid to link rent to inflation.
A new plan could see the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB) beefed up in a bid to tackle spiralling rent costs.
The PRTB currently has statutory powers to resolve disputes between tenants and landlords. But the agency only advises the Government on issues relating to the rental market and cannot interfere to tackle rising rents.
Tánaiste Joan Burton is understood to be one of the key proponents of reconfiguring the PRTB as a 'rent regulator' and mooted the proposal at a Labour Party meeting this week.
A spokesperson for the PRTB last night said the issue of policy in this area was a matter for the Department of the Environment.
Meanwhile, ministers have moved to publicly play down claims of tensions within the Coalition over rent.
But Government sources described the rift as "serious" and claimed Mr Kelly had been left isolated as a result of his plan.
Fianna Fáil's TD Barry Cowen said giving a greater oversight role to the PRTB was proposed by his party earlier this year.
"We have said publicly already that the Government should give the PRTB a central role in calculating allowable rent rises. It's good to see that the Government and the Tánaiste are finally considering our proposals," Mr Cowen said.