We have to be careful regarding the language we use in this Chamber concerning a whole host of issues. We should not seek to demonise one part of our community. As Deputy Michael Healy-Rae rightly stated, many of the landlords in this country, some 70%, own only one property. Many of them are accidental landlords who did not mean to become landlords, but became such because of what has happened in our recent history.
Some of them may now be at a point where they want to cease being a landlord and are able to do so. This has led to some of the volatility we have seen, with tenants being served notice to quit and the insecurity they experience as a result of needing to find a new place when we do not have enough homes to meet demand.
We have sought to provide incentives for landlords. We have sought to ensure that people invest in rental property because not everyone can go from living in their parents' home to buying a property. Many will need to rent and many will want to rent for a number of years.
I do not disagree with the Deputy's analysis of the high tax treatment of landlords. However, despite the work done by the tax strategy group, we have not been able to go down the route of making changes to the tax treatment of landlords as there are so many other spending demands on the Exchequer and we can only make certain changes year on year. We have introduced other important measures in the areas of mortgage interest relief and the expenditures that can be included by landlords in their engagement with the Revenue Commissioners.
When I talk about a European model in housing, I am referring to having a rental sector where tenants have long-term leases, security and affordable rents and have an understanding that rents cannot jump dramatically every year. We want to move away from the position where people invest in the rental sector based on the capital appreciation of the property and then exit the market ten or 15 years later to one where people invest for a rent roll. That lends itself to a certain type of investor and this approach is beginning to work in the cities. I worry, however, that landlords are exiting the sector outside the cities, resulting in a lack of rental accommodation outside cities and large towns. We must keep a close eye on this.