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State told to freeze spiralling rents in private sector

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Eamonn Maloney

Eamonn Maloney

Eamonn Maloney

Pressure is growing on the Government to introduce emergency legislation to freeze spiralling rents in the private sector.

Labour party TD Eamonn Maloney believes the issue needs to be addressed.

"In the absence of rent control, many families and individuals are being forced from their homes due to rent increases.

"In some cases, rents have increased by 30pc in less than two years and are beyond the affordability of lower-income tenants," Mr Maloney said.

"Emergency legislation to freeze rents for a two-year period is needed if families are to be protected. Rent increases should be linked to the cost of living.

"Some landlords are exploiting the fact that the demand for rented property is outstripping the supply by continuing to increase rents until they reach the same level as 2008, the year when Irish rents peaked.

"Unless rent control is introduced immediately, the Dublin area will become a 'landlords' paradise' at the expense of low-income families," Mr Maloney said.

His comments come as a recent report from Daft.ie showed that over the past two years, the average rent nationwide has risen by almost €150, from €790 a month to €933. The national trend is being driven by Dublin, where rents are up an average of €300 a month since 2012.

Speaking to the Herald, the TD who represents Tallaght and Dublin South West said that rent increases are hammering low paid and social welfare recipients.

"What's happening, particularly in Dublin at the moment, is unprecedented," the TD said.

One couple with a child who were paying €700 two years ago have been asked to pay €900 from the second week of January - this would represent 42pc of the main earner's wages.

Mr Maloney has seen 17 cases since the end of August of people who are being affected by rent increases they cannot afford.

The issue seems to have spiralled since the end of summer.

"My argument is, unless there is a freeze on rents for the two years, this is just going to get worse.

"There are a lot of decent landlords out there, but the trend will be upwards, and the demand is there because of the upturn in the economy and you find a lot of young people going back to work now," Mr Maloney said.

worse

The TD said that emergency legislation is required for a two-year freeze on rents.

Mr Maloney said he will talk to Environment Minister Alan Kelly about the matter.

"I don't think the Government can wait around.

"I think both parties are going to have to do something about this, because it's just going to get worse.

"There are times when the Government has to act, for what's happening immediately, and this is one of those cases," he said.

However, there would be substantial legal concerns in relation to Constitutional issues about a rent freeze, the Environment minister said in an interview in September.

He indicated that other options were being explored.

fdillon@herald.ie


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