Saturday 24 February 2018

FF wants to extend rent plan it says is 'flawed'

Leinster House (Stock picture)
Leinster House (Stock picture)
Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

Fianna Fáil has demanded that a number of new cities and towns be designated as so-called 'Rent Pressure Zones' as it warned the Government that a new housing bubble is on the cards.

The main Opposition party insists that the likes of Limerick, Waterford and other areas must be included.

In a submission paper to the Department of Housing, it said the new rent strategy has done little to resolve the issue of spiralling accommodation costs.

The introduction of 'Rent Pressure Zones', otherwise known as RPZs, was designed to slow down the scale of the increases facing tenants.

The measures, brought in by former housing minister Simon Coveney, applied a maximum 4pc hike per year in rent in a number of zones for a period of three years.

But Fianna Fáil has criticised what it described as a number of "flaws" in the Government's rent strategy, which it says is failing to tackle spiralling prices in Cork and Dublin in particular.

The party says there are many areas that should be classified as RPZs, including Limerick, Waterford, Dundalk, Drogheda and Greystones in Co Wicklow.

In its submission, seen by the Irish Independent, the party says that since the introduction of RPZs, the situation has not improved for the vast majority of renters.

"Many towns with both the highest rents and highest rent inflation, such as Greystones in Wicklow, are not covered under the rent cap legislation, due to the flaws in the approach used to decide upon designations," the document stated.

"Meanwhile, many areas within this county and others that have been designated do not have particularly high rent pressures, such as many rural locations.

"This is replicated for large towns across the country that are experiencing high rents and high rental inflation, such as Dundalk or Drogheda, or as well as for cities, such as Limerick or Waterford."

The document also quoted economist Ronan Lyons, who has said there was evidence that landlords had passed on rent increases faced by movers to sitting tenants.

The party says that the situation is particularly bleak for those living in Dublin and Cork.

"There can be no doubt that average rent levels are outstripping affordability with average asking rent in Dublin City at €1,690 compared to average monthly earnings of €2,853."

Irish Independent

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