A proposal to look at lifting restrictions around the renting of bedsits remains under consideration, according to a spokesperson for the Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy.

The Department of Housing is looking the possibility of allowing landlords rent out bedsits again subject to new safety regulations and inspections.

Bedsits were outlawed four years ago but they might still form part of the Government's housing plan if landlords improve the standard of accommodation on offer.

An announcement on ways to deal with problems facing the rental sector is expected within weeks after the Cabinet today discussed measures to tackle the housing crisis.

Earlier today the Director of the Residential Landlords Association said that a loosening of the rules relating to bedsit accommodation could result in up to 2,000 extra units becoming available.

Speaking on RTÉ's Today with Sean O'Rourke, RLA chief Fintan McNamara welcomed the reports and said renting a room with a shared bathroom could be substantially cheaper.

He said there were 9,000 such units when the law came into effect, and "we estimate that there are about 2,000 at most left.

"But that is significant for the people who are actually living there, or the people who have been turfed out might be able to come back in again".

He said a converted studio apartment could rent for €1,000 a month, but a bedsit may cost €600-650 to rent.

However, Opposition parties and housing groups have have criticised the reported proposals.

The chairperson of the national housing charity, Threshold, said bedsit style accommodation is too unsafe to be considered as a measure to ease the housing crisis.

Speaking on RTÉ's Six One, Dr Aideen Hayden said that bedsit-type accommodation is failing to meet appropriate safety standards because the quality is too poor and it often poses a serious fire risk. 

She said the homeless crisis "will not be solved by looking back".

"Its very hard to see how without dumbing down the regulations you can bring back the bedsit," said Dr Hayden. 

"We've seen a situation when two Irish students died in Leuven, we've seen Grenfell Towers, the chief fire officer for Dublin - when there was a fire in Mountjoy Square in a typical bedsit-style accommodation situation - said that he was very concerned that one of these situations in Ireland would lead to such a disaster.  

"These properties are not available because they just don't happen to be ensuite accommodation; they're failing because they're poor quality, they're failing because they're firetraps, and I don't think there's anything to be gained in going backwards."

Sinn Féin's housing spokesperson said the return of the bedsit would be a "retrograde step back into widespread use of substandard accommodation".

Mr Ó Broin said: "If you have widespread use of bedsits, what happens is very, very vulnerable families, often low-income, often migrants, often older people, some with alcohol or mental health problems, end up trapped in very poor quality accommodation for very long periods of time."

He said the solution is "not to return to the bad old days of the bedsit" but for the Government to invest adequately in social housing.

"What we have to prevent is people with complex needs or people on very low incomes who are vulnerable being left in substandard accommodation for long periods of time."

Solidarity/PBP also ruled out the reintroduction of bedsits as a red herring and distraction, stating the real issue was the building of public housing.

The group said it would breach the fiscal space rules and ignore the advice of the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council in order to build more social housing.

It says between €10-12 billion in additional spending on public housing is required over the next four to five years.

The head of the Fiscal Advisory Council has warned of potential overheating of the economy in response to the housing crisis.

Speaking at the Oireachtas Budgetary Oversight Committee, Seamus Coffey warned that if a sharper than expected recovery in housing construction was to take hold and overshoot annual requirements for housing completions, overheating could materialise in future years. 

Labour spokesperson on Urban Regeneration Joe Costello has also criticised the proposal.

He said bedsits are "not a healthy option for accommodation and thousands of people were condemned to cramped, unsanitary conditions before their abolition in 2013".

He added: "Reintroduction of the bedsit will not resolve the housing crisis or even contribute to resolving it. 

"But it will ensure that another generation of single and mainly elderly men and women will be condemned to a lifetime of poor quality, cramped accommodation."

The ESRI, meanwhile, has said the Help to Buy Scheme for First Time buyers could contribute to rising house prices.

Prof Kieran McQuinn was responding to questions Sinn Féin's finance spokesman, Pearse Doherty, at the Oireachtas committee.

"I think when supply is an issue, unfortunately when you stimulate demand which is ultimately what you are doing with Help to Buy, you are shoving up prices, and that ultimately I think is what is likely to happen with such a scheme," Prof McQuinn said. 

He said while the ESRI had not anyalysed the scheme yet, ultimately its basic aim was to generate levels of affordabiltiy, which means more demand, and higher house prices when you fix supply.