Property owners reject calls for rent control

Irish Property Owners Association criticises ‘punitive’ interventions in the market

A group representing property owners has said rent control “is not the answer” to the State’s housing crisis and called on the Government to provide an “adequate supply of accommodation”.

Irish Property Owners Association chairman Stephen Faughnan was responding to remarks made by Impact general secretary Shay Cody at a homelessness conference at the weekend.

Mr Cody said leaving rents to the market was driving people into homelessness.

“A couple of years ago the Government decided to put a temporary restriction on the price of beer,” he said. “It shouldn’t be beyond their wit to do the same with rent for a period.”

Mr Faughnan said yesterday the State should ensure that every citizen has access to good quality accommodation at an affordable price.

“This is usually done through a combination of more social housing, more rental accommodation and increased building where more accommodation is required,” he said.

“There is a perception that the private rental sector is responsible for all housing difficulties and is the landlords’ fault. Landlords are clearly part of the solution. The State has not built sufficient social housing which means that more people are looking to the private rental sector. The current rent supplement system is not fit for purpose and people who need assistance in paying for their accommodation are suffering.”

He said the State needs landlords to provide good quality rental accommodation, but Government actions mean available accommodation is decreasing.

“Punitive intervention in the market has been unhelpful and is a major factor in the current situation,” he said.

“The taxation system for rental property is flawed and this has resulted in landlords leaving the sector. Bedsit accommodation with shared bathrooms is now outlawed with no alternative in place.

“This has reduced the supply of the most affordable accommodation and we now have homelessness at levels never experienced before.

“Continually talking of rent control, or its new buzzword, ‘rent certainty’, will result in less investment in the sector and reduce the supply of property.

It could also have the unintended consequence of increasing rent as landlords now charging below market rent will be concerned about the restriction and may have to bring their rent up to market rent.”

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson is an Irish Times reporter