Both Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin have clashed in the Dáil over proposals to cap rents in Cork and Dublin, writes Juno McEnroe of the Irish Examiner.
Attempts to curb spiralling rents now could be delayed, if TDs and parties cannot come to an agreement on how much they can rise by and in which counties by the end of this week.
Fianna Fáil say the proposed 4% rent per year is too high and that the limit must also be rolled out beyond the proposed areas of Dublin and Cork city.
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin told the Dáil this morning that the government plan was “too little, too late”.
Rents were “soaring out of control” not only in Dublin and Cork but in other counties such as Limerick and Meath which has seen double digit percentage increases recently.
There was a need to bring rates “under control”.
The geographical limits for the new rent curbs were far “too restrictive and limited,” Mr Martin told the Dáil.
Furthermore, it was “essential” that other counties such as Galway, Limerick, Kildare, Waterford, Meath and Kildare among others were included on the list, he said.
The proposed annual maximum rent rise of 4% in rent pressure zones was also “excessive” and needed to be brought down, the party leader said.
But Taoiseach Enda Kenny refused to back down from his Cabinet's plans. He defended the chosen rent rise cap as well as the limited areas it would be introduced in initially.
Mr Kenny said the rent pressure reliefs would benefit thousands of tenants.
Mr Kenny said the measures were “targetted” and “focused”.
He also said that the residential tenancies board could begin assessing other areas as rent pressure zones by next February.
The issues is due to be debated between the two parties before a planned vote this week on the rent legislation. But any delay could mean the rent curbs are delayed until the New Year.
Mr Kenny defended the 4% rate saying it was half of the current rent inflation rates being applied and that it was also lower than limits allowed in other countries, such as Germany and Sweden.
But Mr Martin again insisted that the measures had to be introduced beyond Cork and Dublin.
Furthermore, he said the 4% cap would have to be resolved by the Dáil.