A new bill that would link rent to people’s income is to be debated today in the Dáil.
The People Before Profit proposal would establish a National Rent Authority and reduce rents to a maximum of a quarter of median monthly household income.
The plan was condemned as unworkable by Taoiseach Micheál Martin, who said there would be a flood of landlords out of the rental market.
However, People Before Profit’s Richard Boyd Barrett said current rent prices are unsustainable and must be addressed.
“It is simply not sustainable for people to be paying 40, 50 and 60 per cent of their entire after-tax income on just putting a roof over their head,” he told Newstalk radio.
“Indeed many can’t even get a roof over their head because they can’t afford the rents, and actually end up in emergency accommodation, so we have to make rents affordable based on people’s actual incomes.
“If there is an exodus of some landlords then I would say that local authorities should buy those properties and use them for social and affordable housing.”
A cost-of-living protest will meanwhile be held outside the Dáil this evening to coincide with the debate on the People Before Profit bill.
The Cost of Living Coalition says urgent action is needed on the price of food and energy, social welfare increases and rent reductions.
It comes as the number of families living in hotels in Dublin almost doubled over the last year.
By the end of May there were 177 families staying in hotels, compared to 90 in the same period last year. The figures, however, remain down from a high of 871 in March 2017.
Almost 4,500 households were in emergency accommodation in the Dublin region at the end of May, 170 more than the month before.