The housing rent in Ireland has set a record high for the seventh consecutive quarter due to increasing demand and shortage of supply, said a leading online property dealer here on Tuesday.
Outside of Dublin, Louth is now the fourth most expensive county in the country to rent a home in after Wicklow (€1,256), Kildare (€1,212) and Meath (1,171).
In the rest of Cork, rents were 8.6% higher in the final three months of 2017 than a year previously.
Dublin experienced an increase in rents of up to 10.9% with rents in the capital now 26%, or nearly €380 a month (€4,500 a year), higher than their previous peak in 2008.
The largest increase in Louth rents has been in relation to one bed apartments which were up 16.4% in the a year ago to an average of €789.
Nationally, rents rose by just over 10 per cent in the year to the end of December 2017 and available properties are at an all-time low.
To protect the interests of tenants, the Irish government has invented a rent pressure zone mechanism under which landlords cannot randomly increase their rents beyond a rate fixed by the government for each different zone unless landlord can justify their increases by providing evidence of price hikes of three comparable properties in the same area.
Rents have been rising in the capital twice as long as they fell - and indeed twice as long as the last market upswing.
"If you're a tenant it's not in your interest to start quizzing the landlord if the proposed increase is only 4 per cent - even if you had the information which you don't, as the RTB don't publish it", he says, adding that it was a combination of "a self-policed system, plus very little information in the market and very tight supply" that was limiting the impact of rent controls to help moderate price growth.
"Rent pressure zones were supposed to curb rent increases by capping rents in key urban areas".
It said it had "prioritised a range of further actions to ensure that existing rent predictability measures, such as the rent pressure zones and increased security of tenure, are fully respected and enforced".
She said when there was a surplus of accommodation, rents went down and she said that landlords are being lost from the sector.
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said many young people are now spending half their income on rent.
"We know one of the push factors into homelessness at this point in time is people not being able to afford rents in the private rental sector".