Government considering rent control, says Minister of State for Housing

Jan O’Sullivan says introducing rent control to deal with the State’s homeless problem ‘is something we are looking at’

Minister of State for Housing Jan O Sullivan said the Coalition would prefer to provide social housing in a way other  than using private landlords, “but we cannot do it in any great numbers at the present time”. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Minister of State for Housing Jan O Sullivan said the Coalition would prefer to provide social housing in a way other than using private landlords, “but we cannot do it in any great numbers at the present time”. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Wed, Jun 18, 2014, 01:02

The Government is weighing introducing rent control to deal with the State’s homeless problem, Minister of State for Housing Jan O’Sullivan has said.

She said rent control was an area in which the State could intervene. “That is something we are looking at, at the moment.” She said the Government was examining “a more European-norm-type system”.

Ms O’Sullivan said the Coalition would prefer to provide social housing in a different way rather than using private landlords. “But we cannot do it in any great numbers at the present time,” she added. “We have to operate within the context in which we are at the moment.”

The Minister was speaking as debate resumed on the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill in the Dáil last night. The Bill provides for the new Housing Assistance Payment which will replace rent supplement.

The bill was scheduled to pass all stages at 10.30pm in the Dáil last night because of a Government guillotine forcing it though the house.

However the Government decided last night not to proceed with the guilotine and the debate was adjourned. There was considerable Opposition pressure on the government not to limit the time allocated for the debate on the bill.

People Before Profit TD Joan Collins said she would prefer to see rent control. “I honestly believe, Minister, that this State must look at a housing policy that guarantees everybody access to a home.”

Seán Ó Fearghaíl (FF) said if Ireland had the continental model, whereby many people lived in rented accommodation, it would only work if there was effective rent control.

“I just wonder, Minister, if you had any engagement with the Minister for Finance on that particular matter, because I could imagine he would be more than a little agitated by virtue of any proposal coming forward to effect rent control, given the inevitable consequences that would have in the buy-to- let market.”

Notwithstanding that, Mr Ó Fearghaíl added, it was an issue that needed to be considered.