The most recent data available from both the Private Residential Tenancies Board and the daft.ie service suggest that rents are increasing in Dublin and the bigger cities at a rate in excess of inflation. A recent Threshold study suggests that there is particular pressure on rents in the lower segment of the market.
Almost 1 in 5 households in the country are now renting their accommodation in the private sector, the biggest share of the housing market since the 1950s. In recent years improvements have been made in the sector in relation, for example, to security of tenure and resolution of disputes. The Government has also recently approved the drafting of amendments to the Residential Tenancies (Amendment)(No. 2) Bill to establish a deposit protection scheme.
However, it is clearly a cause for concern if affordability issues are emerging in the private rented sector, given its importance in terms of the overall housing mix. I have sought to stimulate a debate on how to bring greater stability to the sector, as it is in the interest of landlords, tenants and society as a whole that we have a stable private rental sector that is sustainable into the long term. The regulation of rents is a complex area and I am mindful of the need to avoid introducing measures that might have unintended consequences, on supply and affordability. Nevertheless, I believe there is scope to explore measures that would alleviate short-term difficulties pending a return to equilibrium in the market, and my Department is exploring the possibilities for commissioning policy research in this regard.