Generation Rent deserves protection
Published 13/05/2015 | 02:30
Generation Rent is the label attached to a growing cohort of young people who have no expectation of ever buying a house.
According to a report on the rental sector from the respected think tank, the National Economic and Social Council (NESC), Government policy now recognises that up to one-third of the population will find it increasingly difficult to achieve home ownership.
Nationally, about one in five households are renting from a private landlord, although this percentage is considerably higher in the three biggest cities of Dublin (34pc), Cork (29pc) and Galway (40pc).
The NESC report acknowledges the growing demand and small levels of new supply in recent years means there are now severe pressures in the rental sector in Dublin and other cities.
This failure of demand to match supply is resulting in increasing rents, pressures on Government to increase rent supplements, and evictions leading to homelessness.
On the economic front, the report says the "limited supply and high cost of rental housing is now a threat to Ireland's competitiveness and job creation".
Actions are required to address these pressures.
As a result, the NESC has put forward a batch of reforms to the private rental market.
Among the recommendations are significant tax reliefs for all landlords, substantially longer leases for their tenants and an end to the practice of ejecting tenants when a property is being sold.
The proposals attempt to strike a balance between the rights of long-term tenants and professional landlords.
The recognition that growing numbers will be in rented accommodation for life means these people need to feel secure they cannot be evicted from their homes after several years at the whim of a landlord.
Likewise, the report accepts investment in property and the rise of the professional landlord is needed to provide the supply of housing required in the country.
The report aims to provide "secure occupancy and affordable supply" - as long as the Government doesn't leave it to gather dust.