Government expected to oppose nationwide rent freeze and tax relief proposals

The Government is set to oppose Sinn Féin’s bill on introducing a State-wide rent freeze, even though Fianna Fáil looks set to support it.

At Cabinet, Housing Minister Eoghan Minister and Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe are to seek approval to oppose the Private Members’ Bill having consistently opposed the idea of a rent freeze.

The Sinn Féin bill seeks to freeze rents on existing and new tenancies for a period of three years; in addition to reducing rents by up to €1,500 per year through the introduction of a refundable tax credit for renters.

Proposing the bill, Eoin O Broin, Sinn Féin’s housing spokesman said that if Fine Gael oppose this legislation, it will have to explain to renters in Dublin and elsewhere why they are having to endure rents in excess of €1,700 a month.

He said: “Fine Gael is on record as opposing it on the grounds that it would deter future investment in the market. We were always clear with Fianna Fáil, that we are willing to accept nominations. We have the numbers to pass this so if anyone has good amendments we are willing to listen to them,” he told the Irish Examiner.

“With the rest of the opposition likely to support this, Fianna Fáil will decide this,” he added.

“They can stop it with a money message,” he said.

“They will have to explain to renters in Dublin who are facing exorbitant rents month after month.”

Government sources said the overriding solution to driving rents down is supply and that is increasing. They also pointed to the impact of the Rent Pressure Zones (RPZs), which limit rent increases to 4%, in deflating the rent pressures relative to other areas.

But during the debate tomorrow night, it is expected to be argued that the introduction of a rent freeze will act as a major disincentive to larger landlords from investing and these are a key driver in the market.

In the Dáil on November 12, Mr Martin said the Government has failed young people especially due to spiralling rents and it is time to impose a rent freeze.