THE Government will have to overcome a successful court challenge by a former Fianna Fail politician in the 1980s if it is to impose limits on rent increases by landlords.
Junior Minister Jan O'Sullivan has said she wants to "look at" a system of rent controls similar to other continental countries.
It would ban landlords from increasing rents in excess of the consumer price index, which measures rises in the cost of living.
It comes at a time when rents in Dublin were 6.4pc higher in the third quarter of last year than at the same time a year earlier due to a shortage of supply. Rents for the rest of the country have also risen by 1.4pc in recent months.
The previous rent controls in this country were abolished back in 1986 following a challenge from a former Fianna Fail councillor, Paddy Madigan.
The rent controls had been introduced during World War I, prior to independence and had not been updated since then.
But the Threshold Housing charity said that it would be possible to devise a law which did not breach the constitutional rights of landlords.
Its chairperson, Labour Sentor Aideen Hayden, said the case taken by Paddy Madigan related to legislation which was left over from the war.
"The kind of rent control legislation in those days wouldn't be reflective of the type of rent control you see in countries like Spain, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands.
"They have clear indices which determine what is a fair rent," she said.
There is no current commitment in the Programme for Government to re-introduce rent controls.
Ms Hayden said that a rent control system would help the poorest tenants.
She added that action was needed to prevent a repeat of the dysfunctional Celtic Tiger property market -- when rents in the capital increased by as much as 60pc in a single year.