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'More extreme measures needed', says Fianna Fáil as they vow to back rent freeze bill

Fianna Fáil will back a Sinn Féin bill calling for an immediate rent freeze.

TDs will consider the proposal which would mean rents could not rise or fall for three years. It appears to have the support of a majority of TDs.

Fianna Fáil's Stephen Donnelly said they will back it.

He said: "More extreme measures are required and the reality is a rent freeze, while not a long-term measure, is one that Fianna Fáil has looked, it is one that Micheál Martin has advocated for in the chambers so we will be taking it very seriously."

Sinn Féin Housing Spokesperson Eoin O Broin insists the measures are needed, saying: "It's also absolutely urgent, if you go onto Daft.ie this morning for example and look for a standard two-bedroom rent in Dublin, it is €24,000 for the year.

"Renters are now paying an average of €7,500 more a year in Dublin than they were when this government took over.

"That's not just bad news for renters, it's also exceptionally bad news for the economy and it is also bad news for many small and medium-size employers who are telling us that the central cause of wage claims is rising rents."

John-Mark McCafferty, CEO of housing charity Threshold, said: “We welcome the proposal for a three-year rent freeze. While there is evidence that RPZ legislation is having an effect, we still have not seen an appreciable increase in supply and rents continue to be too high, exceeding mortgage payments in many cases.

"The two-year rent freeze that was introduced previously did give tenants respite and, providing there is an increase in housing supply to the extent needed, three years would be a suitable time frame for a similar measure.”

The three major shortcomings in the private rented sector that Threshold has identified are the lack of security of tenure; lack of available rented housing; and lack of affordability. An over-reliance on the private rented sector in a constrained housing market has only served to intensify these shortcomings.

"While we recognise the need for strong measures to tackle the crisis, it is important to be conscious of any potential impact these could have on supply – and so to mitigate this other measures need to be put in place alongside a rent freeze.

"These could include a temporary ban on sale as grounds for ending a tenancy; an increase in construction targets under Rebuilding Ireland; the ramped-up delivery of Government measures of affordable purchase and cost-rental housing; tax measures to encourage landlords to rent to lower income tenants; and the promotion of long-term leases.”