Housing crisis forces 10,000 a month to rent
The rental watchdog is dramatically increasing its staff to deal with the surging number of tenants - and the knock-on rise in disputes with landlords.
The number of people living in private rented housing is soaring by almost 10,000 each month, as a shortage of supply and lack of lending constrict their hopes of buying.
Private rented sector tenants have risen by more than half in just 18 months.
Almost 700,000 people are now living in leased houses, flats or apartments - more than one seventh of the total population.
And there has been a massive recent surge, with 50,000 more people renting today compared with just six months ago.
New figures from the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB) show 455,000 lived in private rented housing in December 2013.
This has risen to 695,646 today, meaning the number has increased by 240,000 or 52pc in just 18 months.
As many as one third are reluctant tenants, and would prefer to own their home.
The soaring numbers renting come as 'The Rent Report' from the Irish Independent reveals prices in our main cities have spiralled in the last five years, while plummeting in the regions.
But the number of houses being built remains stubbornly low, with builders claiming it is difficult to achieve a profit.
The PRTB has also been given permission to increase its workforce from 30 at present to 42 to deal with its rising workload across a range of areas.
The Government is also finalising plans for a deposit protection scheme, to be operated by the PRTB, to help protect tenants in the event of disputes.