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Five more areas become Rent Pressure Zones as national average monthly rent stays over €1,200

There is currently a rent freeze and a ban on evictions in place as a result of the Covid-19 crisis.

Screenshot 2020-04-21 at 17.09.55 Source: RTB

FIVE MORE AREAS of the country have now met the criteria to become Rent Pressure Zones (RPZs). 

It must be noted, however, that there is currently a nationwide rent freeze and ban on evictions as a result of the Covid-19 crisis. 

The news of the new RPZs comes as the latest rent index report from the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) is released, which finds that the standardised national average rent is over €1,200 per month. 

From October to December 2019 (Q4), the standardised national average rent was €1,226 per month, according to the RTB. That’s up by 6.4% from the same period one year earlier. 

The report is compiled in conjunction with the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) and is based on 17,269 tenancies registered with the RTB in the same quarter. 

New rent pressure zone

Based on the rental data from the latest report, five additional local electoral areas meet the designated criteria for rent pressure zones (RPZs) – Mallow, Killarney, Athy, Tullamore and Mullingar. 

The RTB has confirmed to the Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy that these five areas meet RPZ criteria. 

Rent Pressure Zone (RPZ) laws were first introduced in December 2016 by then-Housing Minister Simon Coveney in order to tackle spiralling rents.

The laws surrounding RPZs have long come in for criticism

Under the legislation, annual rent rises are capped at 4% in certain areas.

RPZs are located in areas of the country where rents are highest and where households have the greatest difficulty finding affordable accommodation. 

Last month, a package of emergency legislation to tackle the Covid-19 crisis was signed into law. 

As a result of the legislation, there is now a temporary nationwide rent freeze and a ban on evictions in place. This means that no landlord in the country can currently increase a tenant’s rent. 

9677 Housing budget Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy Source: Leah Farrell via RollingNews.ie

Commenting on the report, RTB interim director Padraig McGoldrick said: “The designation today of a further five Local Electoral Areas as RPZs provides further protection for rents in these areas. 

However, I am aware that the period reflected in the latest rent index represents a very different world to the one we are living in today, and that the Covid-19 crisis presents new challenges for both landlords and tenants across the country. 

“These temporary measures help to ensure a balanced and fair market in the current circumstances and while rent must still be paid, no rent increases can take effect.” 

McGoldrick added that there is a need for both tenants and landlords to continue to fulfil their obligations throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. 

“There are some simple rules that should be reiterated at this time. Rent must still be paid by tenants as it falls due. Where a tenant is genuinely struggling to pay the rent, they may be entitled to support measures including income support and rent supplement, which we would encourage tenants to seek prompty,” he said. 

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Anyone who is experiencing difficulties is their tenancies during their time is being encouraged to visit the RTB website for information on how to resolve issues.

Rental prices

Returning to look at the RTB rent index published today, it found that the standardised average rent in Dublin stood at €1,716 per month in Q4 2019, up 5% on the year previous. 

On a quarterly basis, Dublin’s standardised average rent decreased by 1.9% in comparison with Q3 2019. 

Elsewhere in the country, the standardised average rent is considerably less, standing at €922 in Q4. This represents an annual increase of 7.6%.

As of the last quarter of 2019, there were seven counties where the standardised average rent exceeds (or equals) €1,000 per month – Cork, Dublin, Galway, Kildare, Louth, Meath and Wicklow.

Three counties (Kilkenny, Laois, and Limerick) all have a standardised average rent between €900 and €999.

The high rental levels in these areas relative to other counties reflect the concentration of demand close to the country’s largest employment hubs.

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