Sinn Féin has called on the Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien to introduce a ban on rent increases immediately and said a 2 per cent cap in pressure zones will “do little to halt rising rents”.
Sinn Féin housing spokesman Eoin Ó Broin said rent pressure-zone legislation has “failed” and that “we need to move on”.
Increases will be held at 2 per cent or linked to inflation if it is lower in pressure zones under housing proposals to be brought to Cabinet on Thursday.
Mr O’Brien will bring legislation to colleagues that will link increases to the consumer-price index or cap any increases at 2 per cent if inflation rises above this level.
Mr O’Brien has consulted with Attorney General Paul Gallagher to ensure the plans can withstand legal challenge. The Government is confident that the new system will be legally sound.
Mr Ó Broin said a rental cap limited to areas in rent-pressure zones will not work.
“The legislation as it currently stands has too many loopholes. New rental properties on the market are exempt and it is difficult for the RTB [Residential Tenancies Board] to monitor and sanction landlords who are breaching the rent caps,” said the Dublin Mid-West TD.
“Furthermore, it is tenants outside rent pressure-zone areas that are currently being hit by double digit rent increases. The rent pressure-zone legislation has failed. We need to move on. The Minister must introduce a three-year ban on rent increases.”
“The rent-pressure zones aren’t working and the minister himself has admitted that there’s been flagrant disregard for it. Last year, there were only 29 landlords who were sanctioned for breaches,” said Senator Moynihan.
“There should be a three-year rent freeze. The Government has said it’s not legally possible, but Alan Kelly, as minister, introduced a two-year rent freeze in 2015 so it is legally possible to be able to do it.”
Senator Moynihan said a 2 per cent cap in rent-pressure zones is “a good medium-term strategy,