Rent increases have spiralled out of control to such an extent that measures are "urgently needed" to address the lack of affordability, says Labour spokesperson on Housing, Jan O’Sullivan TD.
Her call comes as the latest rental report from Daft.ie shows rents have risen nationally by around 10% in the year to December, and are at an all-time high for the seventh consecutive quarter.
The average rent on new leases in Dublin has increased to €1,822 per month, according to the new report. This puts prices even higher than during the so-called Celtic Tiger.
Deputy O’Sullivan said: “The headline figure from today’s Daft report of a 10% hike in national average rent is startling- but won’t come as any surprise to the thousands of renters trawling through property websites.
“There is very little on offer and the properties that are available are scandalously overpriced for the standard you are getting.
“For new tenants or those living outside the rent pressure zones, the rental sector is a nightmare; and for those who are renting, uncertainty looms about potential refurbishments that will hike rent costs, or about what happens once their lease is up."
According to Daft.ie, there are just over 3,100 properties available to rent, just a tip of the iceberg for the number of people that need a home.
“What is clear from this report is that the private rental sector is not delivering anywhere near what is needed, and the State must pick up the slack," she said.
“We need a national affordable housing scheme urgently. There are 700 publicly owned sites which have already been identified, and must be used to deliver affordable homes for rent, as well as purchase.
“There is also a need for a rent register, so tenants can see what the previous renter was being charged, and would put the spotlight on any extortionate rent increases from lease to lease"
When you drill down the figures into areas, the hikes are even greater. Rents jumped by around 11% in Dublin last year, and in my own constituency of Limerick- which is outside the RPZ- we saw a whopping 14.7% increase.
“When you take the projected inflation increase of around 1% for this year, these hikes have no justification, and I would again recommend linking rent increases to CPI," she said.
“The Government must look at extending the Rent Pressure Zones and the Residential Tenancies Board must be properly equipped to ensure they can monitor and enforce the measures that are in place.
“We are at a tipping point when it comes to the rental sector in Ireland, and unless urgent action is taken, more and more people will be priced out of the market and forced into homelessness.”