‘Many land­lords ig­nor­ing rent pres­sure zone leg­is­la­tion’

Irish Examiner - - News - Noel Baker and Elaine Lough­lin

New fig­ures show­ing soar­ing rents across the coun­try have led to calls for a crack­down on land­lords who flout the rules linked to Gov­ern­ment-set rent pres­sure zones (RPZ).

Re­act­ing to the pub­li­ca­tion of the Q3 Daft.ie rent re­port which showed the av­er­age rent na­tion­ally is now €1,998, Mick Byrne, spokesman for the Dublin Ten­ants As­so­ci­a­tion, said: “The Gov­ern­ment’s own data has shown there are ex­tremely high lev­els of non-com­pli­ance among land­lords with re­gard to min­i­mum stan­dards leg­is­la­tion for pri­vate rental ac­com­mo­da­tion.

“So there can be no sur­prise that many land­lords have cho­sen to ig­nore the RPZ leg­is­la­tion.”

There are now 21 RPZs, cov­er­ing the four Dublin lo­cal au­thor­i­ties and the Cork City Coun­cil area, along­side other ur­ban ar­eas such as Cobh, Maynooth, Ballincol­lig, Drogheda, and Bray. In those ar­eas, rents can only be in­creased by a max­i­mum of 4% an­nu­ally and only by meet­ing strict qual­i­fy­ing cri­te­ria.

How­ever, hous­ing char­ity Thresh­old said that RPZ leg­is­la­tion needs to be prop­erly en­forced, while the Dublin Ten­ants As­so­ci­a­tion said the Res­i­den­tial Ten­an­cies Board should be tasked with iden­ti­fy­ing and chal­leng­ing land­lords guilty of il­le­gal rent in­creases, as well as be­ing al­lowed to pub­lish a rental regis­ter and is­sue more strin­gent penal­ties for land­lords who break the law, in par­tic­u­lar “re­peat of­fend­ers”.

In ad­di­tion to the Daft.ie re­port, a sep­a­rate re­port pub­lished by the ESRI in­di­cated house prices could rise by 20% be­tween now and 2020, adding fur­ther un­cer­tainty to the sit­u­a­tion.

In the Dáil, Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDon­ald said the two re­ports con­firm “what peo­ple have known for quite some time”, ac­cus­ing the Gov­ern­ment of a “cat­a­strophic fail­ure” in re­la­tion to hous­ing.

“As things stand, rent­ing or buy­ing a home is now be­yond the reach of an en­tire gen­er­a­tion,” she said.

Taoiseach Leo Varad­kar agreed that the fun­da­men­tal un­der­ly­ing prob­lem is a lack of sup­ply but said be­tween 2,000 and 3,000 so­cial houses will be com­pleted be­fore the end of the year and this will in­crease to ap­prox­i­mately 4,000 to 5,000 next year.

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