Readers Blog: Renters not helped by interference of the State

Your letters page of April 17, and the adjoining article by Sinn Féin’s Eoin Ó Broin, debated Ireland’s housing crisis.

In her letter, Maureen Moran rightly criticised the demonising of small-time landlords and the punitive taxes that have forced many of them to leave the rental market.

Far from benefitting would-be renters, the economic principle of supply-and-demand has raised rents, as increased numbers of tenants chase a dwindling supply of accommodation.

Ó Broin, Sinn Féin’s housing spokesman, enthused about Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy’s latest policy initiative — the one making it next to impossible for a house owner to rent a property to tourists on platforms such as AirBnB.

Having expended considerable energy in driving small-time landlords out of the long-term rental market, the minister’s latest big idea is to attempt to drive these same people back into that same market.

This is grist to the mill for socialists like Ó Broin — the intoxicating mix of anti-landlord rhetoric and the opportunity to promote yet another grandiose scheme, whereby the state attempts to control some market or other.

There is nothing to suggest that state interference has helped tenants — on the contrary, it would appear to have worsened their plight considerably. All the evidence suggests that landlords are continuing to exit the rental market as a result of government policy. There is little evidence that the Minister for Housing’s latest ‘initiative’ will reverse that trend.

Brian Deane



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