Are renters their own worst enemies?

Rental costs have soared in recent years with no signs on the horizon of that changing.

However, are private renters their own worst enemies? Possibly, according to DIT’s lecturer in housing and economics, Lorcan Sirr.

He says that competition between tenants is so fierce that they are now out-bidding each other on properties. This is driving up the price of some rental properties by as much as 50%, he claims.

“There is a lack of supply of accommodation for people to rent,” Dr Sirr told the Herald.

“Landlords don’t really set the price. Tenants are out-bidding each other for the price.

“Under the legislation we have in Ireland, rent can be increased to the market level, which is being pushed up by 30%, 40% or 50%.

“It is unaffordable for people and causes them to move away to other places and you hear of kids going to stay with their granny, etc.”

Dr Sirr says there is not enough being done for renters compared to the provisions in place for homebuyers.

“We are happy to control affordability for people in the home ownership category,” he said. “But we won’t do it in the rental sector, which is wrong.

“People don’t really have security of tenure for what I would call spurious reasons, like the landlord needing the place back for themselves or for a family member.”

Dr Sirr says the Government should introduce more measures for the private rented market.

“Rent certainty is a very good thing and there is enough extensive and detailed research from the OECD and the National Economic and Social Council to show it is good in any civilised society,” he said.

“Rent certainty should be linked to the Consumer Price Index for a period of five years.

“The first thing I would do is provide 100pc mortgage interest relief for landlords. The system we have at the moment is not fit for purpose.”

Opposition parties have called for the Government to increase housing supply and introduce more measures to help those in the rented market.