Mark Stedman via
rising rents

Another two areas become Rent Pressure Zones as rent prices continue to soar

Macroom, Cork and Carlow met the designation criteria within the latest Residential Tenancies Board report.

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

This comes as the latest rent index report from the Residential Tenancies Board has been published, which has found that the standardised national average rent over €1,200 per month. 

From April to June 2019, the standardised national rent was €1,202 per month, according to the RTB. That’s up from €1,123 one year earlier. 

The report is compiled in conjunction with the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) and is based on 19,047 tenancies registered with the RTB in the same quarter. 

New rent pressure zones

Based on the rental data from the latest report, two more local electoral areas have now met the designation criteria for Rent Pressure Zones (RPZs) – the local electoral areas of Macroom in Co Cork and Carlow. 

Both these areas will be designated as RPZs from today. 

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

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. 

It is worth noting that under the current laws, a landlord can evict a tenant and raise the rent above the limits if substantial refurbishment is carried out on the property.

Properties within RPZs are also exempt from the 4% restriction if they have not been let at any time in the previous two years. 

Commenting on the report, RTB director Rosalind Carroll said: “We know Rent Pressure Zones are having an impact at an individual level. The RTB is supporting compliance through public awareness campaigns, online resources and information. 

However, there is no quick fix for the rental sector and regulation is only part of the answer.
The market is complex, our research illustrates and we will be working with the ESRI to gain further insights into the factors driving rent inflation. It is important that policy is informed by the most accurate information in order to avoid any unintended consequences.  

In a statement today, Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy said: “In our key employment areas, but particularly in Dublin, rents have reached unsustainable levels.

“This is precisely why the Government and Oireachtas moved to strengthen rent controls and renter protections in June of this year. I welcome the announcement from the RTB that they are already using their new powers of investigation under these new laws.”


The laws surrounding RPZs have come in for criticism over the past couple of years

Last November, Sinn Féin’s housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin TD said: “Rent Pressure Zones are clearly not working for new entrants to the rental market or people who have to move. 

The Rent Pressure Zone legislation is failing new entrants to the rental market. Asking for new lets are very clearly circumventing the 4% cap and this is adding to the housing affordability crisis. 

Ó Broin called for an immediate three-year rent freeze to be introduced, alongside tax reliefs for tenants, as he said “the time for a measured response to this crisis has long passed”. 

Speaking to last night, Ó Broin reiterated his stance, and said: “While I’m not opposed to the extension of the Rent Pressure Zones, really what we need is much more than that. There needs to be a rent freeze right across the state. 

“We need a bit more radical action at this stage.” 

In March of this year, Labour’s housing spokesperson Jan O’Sullivan TD said that RPZs are “clearly not working”. 

Similarly, at the time Social Democrats co-leader Catherine Murphy said that an emergency rent freeze is the only way to address the rising rent issue. 

“There is no way that ordinary workers, people with families and young people can continue to pay rents at these astronomical levels,” Murphy said. 

 Rental prices

Returning to look at the RTB rent index published today, it found that growth remains high in Dublin where the standardised average rent is now €1,713 per month, up from €1,599 in the same quarter last year. 

This represents a 7.1% annual increase in rent in the capital. 

Outside of Dublin, the standardised average rent is considerably less, standing at €903 in Q2 of this year. 

There are also very different rental markets across local electoral areas with standardised average rents ranging from €2,328 in Stillorgan, Co Dublin, to €489 in Lifford-Stranorlar, County Donegal.

As of Q2 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.

Limerick falls just under this €1,000 threshold with a standardised average rent of €991. 

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

Homeless figures for July – the latest month for which figures are available – show that there are still more than 10,000 people in Ireland officially living in emergency accommodation. 

In July, a total of 10,275 people were recorded in emergency accommodation in Ireland  – 6,497 adults and 3,778 children.

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel