Complaints over rent hikes up by 160pc since new 'pressure zones' rules
Complaints about landlords hiking rents beyond the 4pc annual ceiling in specially designated Rent Pressure Zones have exploded since the new rules went into effect last Christmas, according to the residential tenancies watchdog.
The Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) said the number of dispute applications over rent reviews - overwhelmingly by tenants living in Rent Pressure Zones (RPZs) - had more than trebled since the zones were introduced by the Government last December in a bid to curtail soaring rents.
About 100 complaints were lodged by the end of last December, compared with more than 340 by this August, an increase of 160pc in just eight months, according to an RTB spokeswoman. "Anecdotally, we're hearing landlords are increasing the rent in RPZs above 4pc," she said.
Residential properties located in RPZs now represent 55pc of the private residential rental market, according to the RTB.
RTB director Rosalind Carroll urged any tenant in a RPZ whose rent was being increased beyond the 4pc annual ceiling to contact the board.
Not only can landlords be ordered to pay the tenant back the inflated rate, they could also be ordered to pay the tenant €20,000 in compensation.
"Even if a tenant has agreed to a rent and signed a tenancy agreement, they are still protected under the law. If a landlord has been found to have charged an illegitimate rent, it has significant consequences," she said.