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Monday 5 December 2016

Rent rises to be restricted to once every 2 years in deal

Environment Minister Alan Kelly
Environment Minister Alan Kelly

A watered-down version of 'rent certainty', whereby landlords will only be allowed to hike prices every two years, has been agreed by the Coalition.

The long-running battle between Environment Minister Alan Kelly and the Department of Finance over how to tackle the rental crisis ended in compromise last night.

Mr Kelly has agreed to give up on his plan to link rent increases to inflation in return for tougher regulations on landlords trying to hike rents to evict tenants.

Currently, a tenant can have their rent raised every 12 months but this timeframe is set to be doubled.

The package, which will be signed off on by Cabinet next Tuesday, also contains incentives for landlords who take families off the social housing list.

"There is a suite of measures that everybody is happy with and the firm target is now for Tuesday's Cabinet meeting," said a source.

The changes will require some new legislation but sources said that this can be "done very quickly" by making amendments to the Residential Tenancies Bill 2012.

It was introduced by Jan O'Sullivan when she was Minister for Housing and deals primarily with the voluntary and cooperative housing sector.

Speaking in the Dail yesterday, Mr Kelly defended his handling of the crisis, saying that supply is the major problem but would take years to fix.

Supply

"If there is enough supply, people have options and rents will not be as high. In the long term, the most important issue is private and public supply," he said.

"Construction is the only sector in the country that has not repaired itself.

"Once it has undergone that process, there will also be supply on the private side, but it will take more time.

"The Government is considering a number of measures to address the lag in supply that will exist in the coming years."

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