Response to ESRI’s Report ‘Rental Inflation and stabilisation policies – international evidence and the Irish experience’
While today’s ESRI Report is welcome and shows that the current the Rent Pressure Zone (RPZ) rules have had a moderating impact on rental inflation, this means little to private renters as the actual rents they pay continue to increase. Rents in Dublin City are almost 25% higher than they were when RPZs were introduced in 2016, while in Cork city – which was also was designated a RPZ at the same time – they are now 30% higher. Rents are over 40% higher in Galway city centre since their subsequent introduction there. Albeit, according to the ESRI, these increases would likely be higher if it were not for the RPZ rules.
The ESRI study identified that over a third of rent increases were above the 4% permitted in Rent Pressure Zones. This does come with a caveat to say that these have not been investigated to determine whether they are breaches of the RPZ rules. However, through our work in Threshold and ongoing contact with private renters, we know that the RPZ rules are regularly breached.
For example, Frances who lives in the Northwest, contacted Threshold last year when her landlord increased her rent just as the new RPZ rules were to come into force. As the Threshold advisor was determining whether the increase was valid, she discovered that the previous increase had been invalid. Frances had also been issued with a 20% rent increase the previous year, in addition to a further 4% in 2021. With the support of the Threshold advisor, Francis’s rent was reduced to the legally permitted amount, and she was refunded the overpaid rent.
The ESRI identify that there will likely be continued upward pressure on rent meaning an ongoing need for Rent Pressure Zone rules. However, Threshold chief executive John Mark McCafferty said that renters need to see rents decrease:
“This cannot be achieved with rent regulation, it can only be achieved with an increase in affordable housing options, whether that is social housing, cost-rental or affordable purchase. Until there is a sufficient supply of such housing, the Rent Pressure Zones will need to remain a feature of the Irish rental market for some time to come. ”
Anyone experiencing issues or concerns with regard to their rent or rental property, can get in touch with Threshold and avail of our free service.
Threshold’s helpline is open Monday to Friday, 9am- 9pm at 1800 454 454, with webchat at www.threshold.ie/advice/help for any renter in need of advice or support.