Government will scrap rent caps proposal if Fianna Fáil does not agree

Enda Kenny says the proposed 4% cap on increases will not be adjusted

Government will scrap rent caps proposal if Fianna Fáil does not agree

Composite image shows Enda Kenny (left) and Michael Martin in the Dáil | File photos

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said the Government will scrap its proposal for rent caps, if Fianna Fáil does not agree to its proposals.

He has told a meeting of Fine Gael TDs that the proposed 4% cap on annual increases will not be adjusted.

Fianna Fáil has tabled a Dáil amendment which could see a vote tomorrow on whether to lower the cap to 2%.

But at the private meeting tonight, Mr Kenny has refused to consider lowering the cap.

He says the plan will be withdrawn unless the 4% cap is accepted.

Housing Minister Simon Coveney has written to his Fianna Fáil counterpart Barry Cowen to defend the cap, which Mr Cowen wants to lower.

Mr Coveney unveiled new measures yesterday, which he wants to turn into law before Christmas.

Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast earlier, Fianna Fáil housing spokesperson Barry Cowen said: "Let's see the proposals, let's amend them, let's debate them, let's analyse them, and let's reach a consensus. That's what the democratic process presents us with the opportunity to do and I hope that won't be lost."

He also suggested that Galway, Limerick, Waterford and other large population centres are added to the scheme from 'day one'.

SIPTU has also called on Minister Coveney to reconsider his plan, due to wghat they say is its "failure to adequately address issues of security for tenants".

SIPTU national campaigns and equality organiser, Karan O'Loughlin, said: "As it stands, it will still allow rents to rise by 12% over the next three years.

"Bizarrely it also only covers Dublin and Cork City despite the fact that the rental crisis is nationwide.

"What was announced yesterday amounts to a real missed opportunity by the Government to bring order to the chaotic rental market.

"We are calling on all opposition TDs to stand firm to force real change that will assist in ending the rental crisis that effects many thousands of people and not accept what amounts to a mere tinkering around the edges of the problem."

Earlier in the Dáil, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said lowering the cap could mean rents would surge at the end of the three-year period.

"The decision to set the cap at 4% was chosen for a number of very specific reasons, Deputy Martin.

"There is a need to ensure that there's a reasonable rate of return on investment, so that there's no spike affect at the end of the period of the designation - where a lower limit would have the affect of storing up a sudden upward correction for tenants after three years".

He also appealed to Fianna Fáil to allow the measures be passed into law before the Christmas break on Friday.

"This is a really important matter for thousands of people now, and I do hope that this legislation will not be delayed," he told deputies earlier.