Simon Coveney rejects rent controls

Housing Minister Simon Coveney has signalled that rent controls will not be used to help tenants and instead promised to fast-track 33,000 new homes in urban areas.

Amid high rents which are now soaring beyond the boom times in Dublin, the Government is set to unveil a package of measures for the rental sector next month.

Rent freezes, introduced by the last government, stop reviews of rates for two years. These restrictions on rent reviews will stay in place until 2019.

Despite this measure to slow increases, has released a report which shows that rates are dwarfing the Celtic Tiger era. There were double-digit hikes in most areas this year.

As part of “Rebuilding Ireland” proposals, Mr Coveney yesterday said there will be a fresh drive to speed up the delivery of developments for specifically identified sites.

A new housing delivery office in his department and stronger co-operation between local authorities and developers, coupled with planning approvals being fast-tracked, will help building, he said.

Sites and home numbers identified for the speedy building initiative include Poolbeg (1,500), Cherrywood (2,000), Donabate (1,500), Adamstown (2,500), and Clonburris (2,000) in Dublin.

Developments in Cork include the docklands (600), Old Whitechurch Road (600), Midleton (1,500), and Ballincollig (2,000) as well as units planned for Greenpark in Limerick City (700) and Arduan in Galway (500).

However, Mr Coveney, ahead of rent measures being released next month, indicated that a clamp down on rising rates for tenants is unlikely: “The balancing act here from a policy perspective is on the one hand to respond to unsustainable rental inflation, which is causing huge problems for a lot of people.

“And at the same time in attempting to respond to that, we don’t actually put the dead hand of regulation on the construction sector and therefore stop any momentum that is starting to build more rental accommodation.”

Sinn Féin housing spokesman, Eoin Ó Broin, noted that 750,000 people rent nationwide, and said emergency measures are needed and could be introduced as early as next week.

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