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NESC publishes Council Report 141: Ireland’s Private Rental Sector: Pathways to Secure Occupancy and Affordable Supply


‘‘Making rental affordable and attractive needs more than one policy approach’’

Ireland’s rental sector is under enormous pressure. The impact is being felt by individuals and families renting and it is now becoming a threat to Ireland’s competitiveness and job creation. The sector needs a new vision and strategy if it is to become an attractive long-term housing choice.

Today’s report from the National Economic and Social Council (NESC) Ireland’s Private Rental Sector: Pathways to Secure Occupancy & Affordable Supply sets out the policy response required. It argues for both providing tenants with more secure occupancy and increasing the supply of permanent affordable rental housing available to low and medium-income households.

NESC’s vision and strategy is based on two core arguments.

First, Ireland needs a secure occupancy model with a number of elements, including:

  • greater rent certainty for tenants through a disciplined market-sensitive form of regulation and adjustment;
  • a move from four-year leases to leases which are effectively indefinite.


Second, Ireland needs measures to increase the supply of rental housing. These include:

  • more active housing supply and land management and disciplined examination of the cost of housing. To be further discussed in a separate forthcoming NESC report;
  • provision of low cost loans, access to state land on favourable terms and loan guarantees subject to rents being affordable;
  • reform of the  tax treatment of rental income, to include full relief of landlords’ interest payments, in a context of secure occupancy;
  • giving priority to investment proposals that underpin permanent provision of social and affordable housing; and
  • vigorous delivery of the Social Housing Strategy.


Dr. O’Donnell, Director of NESC, stated that Government policy has set affordability as the first goal of housing policy: this is potentially transformative. Taking up the affordability challenge in rental requires a commitment to an integrated approach.  Such a strategy can be more than the sum of its various parts—rent certainty, secure occupancy, tax treatment and others. It is this synergy that will transform the sector.

To download the Main Report and Executive Summary, please click here


Note to Editors

The report was circulated to Government departments and noted by the Cabinet at its meeting on Tuesday May 12th 2015. The full report and the Executive Summary will be published on NESC Website, on Wednesday May 13th.

For further information please contact Larry O’Connell, / +353-86 6069758 / +353-1-8146331.


This report is NESC’s contribution to Government development of a new national policy for the private rental sector, including issues such as investment, standards and regulation, as indicated in Construction 2020 and the Social Housing Strategy.

It is the third report published by NESC on housing policy over the past year.  The first of these reports, Social Housing at the Crossroads, looked at the actions needed to support the development and financing of social housing in Ireland; it was published in June 2014.   The second report, Homeownership and Rental: What Road is Ireland On? examined the evolving balance between homeownership and rental accommodation; this second report was published in December 2014.

A further report on housing supply and land will shortly be published by the NESC Council.  This forthcoming report sets out the case for a more active public role in driving housing supply.

In addition, NESC will also publish a research report commissioned from an independent consultant, Philip Lawton that examines the relationship between housing the development of sustainable urban communities.

Recent NESC work on housing builds on earlier work by the Council.  In particular, in 2004 the Council carried out a major study on housing called Housing in Ireland: Performance and Policy.

NESC Housing Reports


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