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Varadkar Says Punitive Rent Controls Will Only Help Black Market

Jack LeCouer
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The Taoiseach says introducing tougher laws on renting could cause even more of a black economy in the housing market. Leo Varadkar was facing criticism in the Dáil after the latest Daft.ie report shows rents are at an all-time high.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said many young people are now spending half their income on rent. However, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is reluctant to expand the rent pressure zones around the country.

“When it comes to any additional measures, we need to be careful,” said Mr Varadkar.

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“There is a risk that if you bring in rent controls that are too strict or too rigid, that that is counterproductive. That you actually create even more of a black market in rent.”

“We see that happening in places where there are very strict rent controls and people end up paying cash amounts under the table or end up sub-letting to others.”

“We need to make sure we don’t make those kind of mistakes.”

Today’s Daft.ie report on the rental market highlights the need for rent transparency to avoid further incorrect interpretation of data according to Fine Gael TD for Dublin North West, Noel Rock, who was responding to the report’s findings that the average rent on new leases in Dublin has increased to €1,822 per month.

Deputy Rock said: “Today’s Daft.ie report shows it’s time for real rent transparency so we can see at what rate rents are rising, be it in existing tenancies or new tenancies.”

”The Government is, and always should be open to actions which assist renters where possible. Minister Murphy and this government have made real progress and shown real openness to new ideas and actions in this regard.”

“The Rent Transparency Bill is one such action, which I presented to the Dáil last June. I would hope that the Government can implement my Bill or a Bill that achieves this, as soon as possible”.

Housing agency Threshold wants an independent registry to keep track of rental prices for individual properties. However landlords say they’re operating in a hostile climate – and the Governments response is making the situation worse.

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