Government rules out introduction of emergency rent freezes

Government rules out introduction of emergency rent freezes

The government has ruled out following Germany's example by introducing an emergency freeze on rents here.

Berlin agreed to halt rate rises there for five years to address a housing crisis.

Tanaiste Simon Coveney claimed investors and landlords here would leave the market and the solution to spiralling rents was increasing the supply of properties.

Solidarity-People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett pressed the government to agree to an emergency freeze here to mirror the German initiative to tackle exorbitant rents.

“There are extortionate rents in Dublin running at an average of €1,600 per month so that one would need to spend over €18,000 on rent a year to afford their rent," he told the Dáil.

House prices are completely unaffordable, costing an average of €383,000 in Dublin. One would need to have saved €40,000 and have a salary of €100,000 or more to afford that.

He also pressed for aggressive taxation of empty sites and homes, with an estimated 200,000 vacant properties in Ireland. The ESRI also backs the same move.

Government rules out introduction of emergency rent freezes

But Mr Coveney dismissed the calls, saying the core problem was supply: “If there is focus not on the delivery of supply but instead on freezing rents overnight, if landlords are driven out of the market because certainty is not given through allowing for modest inflation and so on in the marketplaces, we will not receive the kind of investment we need.”

The German capital has frozen rents in a bid to halt the gentrification of its city centre. Berlin's housing costs have doubled over a decade as employers, attracted by jobs, move into the city.

While Mr Boyd Barrett insisted that could be copied here, Mr Coveney suggested recent rent pressure zones were an “alternative” to rent freezes.

These had also been extended to include so-called 'cuckoo' funds, who buy up or rent properties in bulk.

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