A report into the private rental sector has advised against rent control as a way of stabilising the market.

Instead, it has proposed a series of tax breaks for landlords and more rights for tenants.

The independent report, commissioned by the Private Residential Tenancies Board, said full rent control could discourage investors and reduce the number of rental units available.

This could especially disadvantage lower-income tenants, who the system would be intended to help.

The report found that around half of landlords said rents do not cover their mortgages.

Nearly a third of landlords want to sell and when they do most of these properties will be bought by owner-occupiers.

The report by DKM consultants said a quick fix is needed as accommodation is becoming unaffordable for many, especially in Dublin.

It has proposed that landlords are given tax relief on their mortgages to take on rent-supplement tenants.

It offered a range of options, including long-term leases with rents linked to the consumer price index.

It said even shorter-term tenants should have three-month notice of any proposed rent increase, with the landlord being required to provide evidence that the increase is justified.

However, the national housing charity Threshold has dismissed the findings of the report.

Chief Executive of Threshold Bob Jordan claimed the private rented sector should be regulated in order to stall “the current spiralling costs of rent, which are forcing people out of their homes”.

Mr Jordan added: "This report argues that any form or regulation or rent control would lead to a restriction in supply because landlords would leave the market. 

"However, the last form of regulation for the private rented sector in Ireland was introduced in 2004 - with the creation of the PRTB itself - and, since then, the sector has doubled in size.  One in five families now live in rented homes."