19 New Rent Pressure Zones Announced

A further 19 new Rent Pressure Zones (RPZs) across 11 counties have been announced by the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, Eoghan Murphy.

The new NPZs include: Ardee; Arklow; Athenry-Oranmore; Athlone- Westmeath; Dundalk – Carlingford; Dundalk-South; Fermoy; Gorey; Gort- Kinvara; Graiguecullen- Portarlington; Kells; Kilkenny; Limerick City North; Limerick City West; Midleton; Portlaoise; Trim; Waterford City East; Waterford City South.

Making the announcement, Minister Murphy said: "This is the most significant expansion of rent controls since the rent pressure zones were first introduced two years ago. Nineteen new areas will now come under the 4% annual cap. It is a direct result of the new rent reforms that were introduced into law last month. We brought these changes in because while our rent controls are having an impact, they are clearly needed outside of Dublin and in other existing high rent areas. Because of these changes roughly 65% of renters are now covered by rent controls."

The designations come on foot of the Residential Tenancies Board's Rent Index Report for Q1 2019 which was published today and is produced in conjunction with the Economic and Social Research Institute.

The Rent Index Report contains the rent information on which the new designations are based.

The Minister continued: "Rents are still too high and in some parts of the country are still rising unsustainably. This was anticipated and that's why we moved to change the criteria for RPZ designation. It is also why we strengthened the enforcement of existing rent pressure zones. These changes will take time to have an effect as they have only recently become law. It is also important to remember that the short term letting reforms should now also see an increased supply of long term lets which should also help tackle rising rents.

"The new rent control areas are important, but so are new protections for renters everywhere that were introduced last month with the rent reform bill which had cross-party support in the Oireachtas. I know some will call for a rent freeze as a result of the latest information. Rent freezes might seem like a good idea for people who are currently renting because they freeze the rent. But they also freeze the supply and that is not helpful in terms of people who are looking for somewhere new to rent today or tomorrow. We will continue to monitor rent pressures and make improvements in line with the recommendations of the Residential Tenancies Board."

The Minster has also commenced other parts of the Residential Tenancies Act 2019, which make it a criminal offence for landlords to implement rent increases that contravene the law; providing powers to the RTB to investigate and administratively sanction landlords who engage in improper conduct including non-compliance with the rent increase restriction in RPZs and allowing the RTB to initiate an investigation without the need for a complaint to be made.

Following investigation and where a sanction is imposed for improper conduct it could cost a landlord up to €30,000 (a financial penalty of up to €15,000; payment of RTB investigation costs of up to €15,000).


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