‘Many landlords ignoring rent pressure zone legislation’
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.