The Tel Aviv-Jaffa city council has decided to set up a special public committee to examine the chronic rental housing crisis in the city and discuss possible solutions such as a reduction in taxes for renters, according to the Hebrew weekly Yediot Tel Aviv. The council last week decided to create the committee because of the continuing severe shortage of rental homes and the "insane" spiraling of prices in recent years. Councilors Arnon Giladi, Pe'er Visner and Yael Dayan will head the committee. According to the report, after years of "ignoring" the problem, the city suddenly decided several weeks ago to approve five building projects that will create a total of 740 apartments for rent. The city is also planning eight more rental apartment projects to ease the shortage. At the council meeting, mayor Ron Huldai said the city's Unit for Strategic Planning had been "occupied for a long time" with research into the subject. He said the city was already working on solutions by encouraging the construction of rental apartments and shortening the building planning process. "The problem is not just to create a supply of apartments at low prices, but to organize an apparatus that will ensure that allocations are made according to equal and transparent criteria," Huldai said. The mayor added that the committee would work with the city engineer, residents' representatives and housing specialists. Among the first matters to be discussed will be whether to offer reduced municipal taxes to young couples, and whether to allocate special areas just for them.