Warning issued against rent controls

Warning issued against rent controls

A housing expert has cautioned against the use of rent controls to tackle the housing crisis in Ireland.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland Mark Stephens, Professor of Public Policy at Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh, said rent regulation rather than controls are more favourable as they are less onerous than rental caps.

Mr Stephens said a good model is setting rent through second generation rent control, whereby the initial rent is set by the market, and thereafter increases are regulated by law, so the exploitation of tenants in tight markets can be avoided.

Later today, a conference organised by the National Economic and Social Council (NESC) will hear from national and international speakers on the problems facing policy makers in Ireland as they try to address the pressure in our housing system.

Mr Stephens said some of the contributing problems to the housing crisis in Ireland is the inheritance of housing policy that promotes home ownership and the fact that Ireland is recovering from a property collapse.

He said Ireland faces an adjustment in terms of how we deal with housing, adding that the levels of home ownership in Ireland will never be as high as they have been before.

“If governments invest now in social rented housing, over time they can save money.

“In Denmark they have done this by establishing what are called building funds, so that over time as debts are repaid rental surpluses are generated by social landlords,” Mr Stephens said.

“These go into these funds and can be recycled to renovate stock to help support new builds.”

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