Two new towns designated 'rent pressure zones' as costs soar 6.6pc
Two new towns have been designated rent pressure zones as the average cost rose by 6.6pc in the year to June.
The Residential Tenancies Board said that the national average rent stood at €1,017 per month, up €63 from the same period last year. Rents in Dublin grew by 3.3pc in the second three months of this year.
Rents for apartments in the capital are now 14pc higher than the peak of the housing boom at the end of 2007.
The cost of rent in the capital has increased by almost €400 in the past four years.
Drogheda, in Co Louth, and Greystones, in Co Wicklow, have now been designated as rent pressure zones, which means landlords cannot raise rents by more than 4pc a year.
This brings to 21 the number of rent pressure zones in the State.
Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy has promised to take on landlords who are trying to get around rules limiting rent increases, as the rise in rental costs has picked up pace.
The pace of rental growth accelerated in the second three months of the year. The Tenancies Board said rents shot up by 2.9pc in the April to June period, compared with a rise of 0.4pc in the first three months of the year.
The figures are based on new tenancy agreements. There were even stronger rises in Dublin, as supply is unable to meet demand in the capital.
There is concern in the Tenancies Board that some landlords are ignoring the rules restricting rent rises to 4pc in rent pressure zones.
Speaking at the National Ploughing Championships, Mr Murphy said some landlords may be seeking to "get around" the rules by carrying out refurbishment works on properties.
"Anecdotal evidence, which seems to be borne out by some of the data returns, is that the rent pressure zone legislation is not being complied with by some landlords, who are looking to get around the increase limits imposed, for example, by using the refurbishment exemption to charge higher rents or reset the market rent," he said.
He is instructing his department and the Tenancies Board to formulate a definition of what constitutes "substantial refurbishment" of a dwelling.
"We're still learning and understanding how it's working," he said of the new laws.
He said that at one stage last year rents were rising in Dublin by about 8.5pc - therefore there had been "a big improvement" even if costs were still going up.