Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Control of Rents.


asked the Minister for Justice if he will as a matter of the utmost urgency introduce amending legislation to extend the control of rents for furnished houses, unfurnished houses and flats.

I have no proposals for new legislation in this regard.

Would the Minister agree that there have been very substantial increases in rents in Dublin? I am sure Deputy Andrews will confirm that in the constituency we both represent people are paying £8 or £9 per week as rent for flats. The rents are spiralling. There is constant revision by landlords of short-term leases. There is need for some form of amending legislation to try to reconcile the people's interests with those of the landlords. Due to the lack of housing people pay enormous rents for accommodation.

I can assure the Deputy that I am fully aware of the type of problem he speaks about. It is not just in Dún Laoghaire but in other places also that one finds these rents. One has to look at the problems in the overall context of rent restriction in general. It is a complex matter. It is easy to clamp down with restrictions, but such action would have widespread social and economic consequences because if you do that you immediately divert all private investment away from housing. I should like, while gradually easing rent controls in order to encourage investments in housing, to try at the same time to stop definite abuses that do exist. I have had my Department look at this from many different angles to see if that can be achieved but we have not as yet been able to come up with any answer. If we control the limited type of exorbitant rents to which Deputy Desmond refers the net effect in the long run would be to divert all private money away from housing. All concerned would agree that would not be in the national interest.

Accepting the enormous complexity of the problem and its many implications could we have some assurance from the Minister that his Department will give some special urgency to the examination of the problem? Young married couples and individuals, including young civil servants, are being greatly exploited by drastic revisions of rent and have absolutely no redress. I think the Minister will agree that exploitation exists.

I agree that in some cases it does. I have explained some of the problems but we are still considering the matter and will continue to see if we can reach a solution.