Friday 20 September 2019

Housing crisis: 19 more areas named as rent pressure zones


The rental crisis intensifies
The rental crisis intensifies
New powers: Rosalind Carroll of the Residential Tenancies Board
Charlie Weston

Charlie Weston

The rental crisis has forced the Government to designate a string of new areas as rent pressure zones, meaning two-thirds of Ireland is now covered.

They will be across 11 counties in a bid to put a lid on surging costs and 65pc of the country is now covered by rent caps.

New zones include all of Co Meath and Co Louth, parts of Laois and Gorey in Wexford, along with Limerick's metropolitan area, Kilkenny city, and Portlaoise and Graiguecullen/Portarlington in Co Laois.

The latest figures show national rents shot up by another €90 a month.

This takes the monthly cost to €1,169, up 8pc on last year according to the State's Residential Tenancies Board (RTB).

In a bid to ease some of the rental inflation, another 19 local electoral areas have been designated as rent pressure zones. This means rents will not be permitted to rise more than 4pc a year.

Despite previous signs that rental inflation was easing, the RTB said the latest figures showed rental inflation is continuing, with affordability a major issue.

In Dublin, the cost of renting is €70 a month higher than last year, at €1,662. This is €372 a month higher than the peak of the housing boom in 2008.

New tenancies are dearer than existing ones. A new agreement costs an average of €1,245 nationally a month. This compares with an existing one at €984.

RTB director Rosalind Carroll said the board now has powers to investigate and sanction those who break rental laws.

Its new powers cover breaches of rental pressure zones, false and misleading termination notices - where properties are not being offered back to tenants - and the ability to go after landlords who fail to register a tenancy.

Fines of up to €15,000 can be imposed.

"The ultimate goal of these new powers is not about the sanction, but to get to compliance and ultimately have a more effective and functioning rental sector," Ms Carroll said.

Any landlord seeking an exemption from the rent pressure zones must notify the board from this month.

A exemption includes situations where the property has not been rented for the last two years, or where there have been "substantial changes" made to the property.

Irish Independent

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