Thursday 19 October 2017

'Rent certainty' rules to protect tenants from steep hikes

Alan Kelly at Leinster House. Photo: Tom Burke
Alan Kelly at Leinster House. Photo: Tom Burke
Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

SO-called 'rent certainty' measures being introduced by Environment Minister Alan Kelly will focus on curbing "excessive increases" by landlords which "drive people out of their homes".

Mr Kelly is preparing a suite of measures aimed at radically reforming the rental market with a particular focus on Dublin.

Among the proposals being considered is the linking of rent hikes to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and encouraging property owners to enter into "rent certainty leases" with their tenants in return for tax breaks and other financial incentives.

Mr Kelly's officials have put proposals to the Department of Finance and discussions are ongoing.

A source last night said the measures are being guided by a report carried out by DKM Economic Consultants, which recommends several measures aimed at reforming the rental market.

"Rent certainty will be achieved by curbing excessive increases in rent that drives people out of homes," the source told the Irish Independent.

A central component of Mr Kelly's plans will be a major beefing up of tenants' rights through regulatory measures.

The notice period for rent increases is set to be extended to three months - allowing tenants more time to assess their options and seek alternative accommodation.

Such a move would also give a tenant greater manoeuvrability to "collate data" if they wish to seek a review into the rent hike, according to the report presented to the minister.

Landlords are also set to be required to provide details of three comparable properties to justify the proposed rent hike. This would ensure that landlords cannot try and increase rent based on vague "trends in the market".

Meanwhile, Jobs Minister Richard Bruton said the government is determined to kickstart construction as it emerged that builders are to be given cheap loans to pay for work and services in estates.

The Irish Independent yesterday revealed that developers will be loaned money at low rates by the State to pay for roads, footpaths and sewerage in housing estates. It is hoped that the measures will speed up house building.

The low-cost loan proposal will focus on Dublin initially before being extended to other cities. Developers have complained about not having their necessary money to install infrastructure in housing estates.

The scheme will be aimed at developments which have planning permission and where sites are serviced.

The National Assets Management Agency (NAMA) estimates that 15,000 houses can be built in the Greater Dublin area over the next two years if the issue of finance is addressed.

Irish Independent

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