Threshold, the national housing charity believes that the average yearly rental increase of 9% in new tenancies – as reported by the Rental Tenancies Board (RTB) today – hides some of the incredibly worrying increases on a county and city level, particularly those subject to Rent Pressure Zones and a 2% cap on rent increases.
“The average annual increase was 13.8% in Limerick City and 27.6% in Waterford City, which equate to an additional €1,844 and €2,740 in rent a year,” said Threshold chief executive John-Mark McCafferty.
“This is money that many people do not have to spare, given the spike in inflation and huge increases in the cost of energy and fuel. In our Q1 2022 Impact Report released last week, we identified that private renters have become more accepting of invalid rent increases, as they have no other housing options available to them. In fact, 60% of rent review notices brought to Threshold in the first quarter of 2022 were invalid.”
An increasing number of Threshold’s clients are seeking support with rent arrears, as private renters simply cannot afford their rent. Their advisors are speaking to more and more stressed and anxious people seeking financial assistance to make payments, or who are cutting back on essential items to stay in their homes.
McCafferty said that a number of actions can be taken to relieve the pressure on private renters:
“Threshold has proposed the creation of a rent arrears fund to support renters to pay arrears, an increase in HAP limits to reflect market rents, changes to the tax system to retain small landlords in the sector and so maintain supply.
“While the 2% cap on rent increases should be limiting rent increase, the figures in today’s RTB rent index suggest these is not the case. While the RTB’s investigations team is conducting ongoing investigations, it may be the case that there is widespread disregard for the RPZ rules. “
Threshold encourages any renter to get in touch if they have received a rent increase notice or believe the rent they are paying is unfair, whether they are living in a Rent Pressure Zone or not.