Ireland plans to bring in legislation linking residential rents to the rate of inflation, in a bid to curb soaring rental costs, the Sunday Times reported.
Ireland’s housing shortage has become a major political issue ahead of elections due in the next six months
While the Irish economy is forecast to be the fastest-growing in Europe for the second year running in 2015, house building is at levels last seen in the early 1970s, after a property crash wrecked the construction sector.
Rents jumped by 7 percent in the year to June, data from the Private Residential Tenancies Board showed last week, while rents in Dublin rose by almost 10 percent in the same period.
The Sunday Times said the government planned to bring in the measure for a four-year period, adding it would be agreed before the Oct. 13 budget, then quickly brought into law to stop landlords hiking rents before the legislation is introduced.
A spokesman for Ireland’s department of environment, which the newspaper said was negotiating the legislation with the finance department, said discussions were taking place on the issue and nothing had been decided.
Ireland’s consumer price index (CPI) was flat on an annual basis in August after falling for eight successive months, so linking the index to the amount landlords can raise rents could instantly bring costs under control.
A government source said the legislation was close to being finalised.
Deputy Prime Minister Joan Burton said on Thursday the government was exploring measures to bring in some form of rent certainty, aiming to ensure rents would be kept stable over a three-year period or longer.
She described some landlords as being “excessively greedy”.