Rent control would be defeated in court, says Master of High Court

Resumption of local authority housebuilding should not result in building ‘Ballymun again’

Master of the High Court Edmond Honohan has warned that a resumption of local authority housebuilding should not result in a repeat of building “Ballymun again”.

Master of the High Court Edmond Honohan has warned that a resumption of local authority housebuilding should not result in a repeat of building “Ballymun again”.

 

Master of the High Court Edmond Honohan has said legislation introducing rent control would probably be rejected in a court challenge.

It seemed to him, he said, it would be difficult to see the Supreme Court letting it through, given the issue had already gone through the court “cauldron’’ twice.

“The courts generally have difficulty in rewriting old decisions,’’ he added.

Mr Honohan was speaking at a meeting of the Oireachtas Committee on Housing and Homelessness in Leinster House on Tuesday.

He warned a resumption of local authority housebuilding should not result in building “Ballymun again’’ in an attempt to provide accommodation quickly.

This was a reference to the tower blocks built in Dublin in the 1960s, and demolished many years later, as a response to the housing crisis at the time.

“It was quite a nice place actually,’’ he added. “But it was demolished because it was not the social answer to what was required.’’

He said it was far cheaper for local authorities to be handed properties which were already built and available.

Prof P J Drudy, of the Trinity College economics department, argued there was a distinction between rent control and rent regulation. Rent control had been introduced during the first World War and lasted until 1980. Rents were frozen at a certain level, often unreasonably so, he added.

Rent control did not exist now. “What does exist is rent regulation, where rents are changed in line with inflation, or some percentage, and improvement to the premises,’’ he added.