Slowdown in rent increases welcome, but rent register essential for ensuring effectiveness of Rent Pressure Zones

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Rent Pressure Zones need to be accompanied by a rent register and other measures to protect security of tenure before they can be truly effective. That’s according to national housing charity Threshold, which was responding to today’s (21.03.18) figures from the Residential Tenancies Board’s Rent Index Report, which shows that average national rents in new tenancies increased by 6.4 per cent in the final quarter of 2017. There was a 1.1 per cent increase in Dublin, where the four local authority areas are among 21 Rent Pressure Zones across the country. While rents have increased, the rate of growth has slowed in Dublin, Cork and nationally.

Commenting, Threshold Chairperson Dr Aideen Hayden said: “While the private rental sector is still under pressure, it is encouraging to see Rent Pressure Zones (RPZs) beginning to make an impact, with an obvious slowdown of rent increases in these areas. Rent Pressure Zones have provided much needed relief to many tenants who were facing unsustainable rent increases and possible homelessness.

“However, we believe that a lot more can be done to ensure RPZs are fully effective. Threshold is, once again, calling for the introduction of a mandatory rent register, along the lines of the Property Price Register, which would create greater clarity for tenants. We are contacted on a daily basis by tenants who continue to find themselves in a very vulnerable position. The introduction of a rent register would give renters more certainty about the level of rent they should expect to pay for property in a particular area.”

Ms Hayden added: “A rent register would bring clarity for tenants moving from one property to another. But unfortunately some sitting tenants are accepting rent increases above the RPZ limits to ensure that they do not lose their homes.”

Many of Threshold’s client base have serious concerns about the prospect of losing their home, with numerous cases illustrating the extreme financial and emotional distress this causes. Some of these cases include:

  • A family including three children who saw their previous home advertised on two months after their tenancy had been terminated by their landlady, who stated she wanted the property back for a family member. The rent was raised from €1,200 to €1,700 per month, beyond the 4 per cent RPZ cap. Threshold represented the client at the RTB and was awarded €20,000 by an adjudicator.
  • A woman who was afraid of losing her home, when, after being in tenancy for two years, she was informed by her landlord that he was increasing her rent by €400 per month. Threshold advocated for the client as this was an illegal rent increase under the RPZ rules and secured a substantially lower increase allowing her to stay in her home.
  • A family with one child who were issued with a notice to quit, stating that vacant possession was needed to carry out substantial refurbishment. Their former family home was re-advertised on less than a month later and the rent was increased from €1,200 to €1,750. Threshold represented the client at the RTB and an agreement was reached that the landlord would pay the tenants €3,250 for breach of the RPZ legislation.

Renters who are worried about losing their home are encouraged to call Threshold’s Tenancy Protection Service on 1800 454 454 for information, advice and support to help protect their tenancies.

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