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19 new rent pressure zones come into effect as national rent average increases yet again

Pressure zones are designated areas where rents cannot be increased by more than 4% per annum.

Image: Sam Boal via RollingNews.ie

THE NATIONAL AVERAGE rent has increased yet again by 8.3% as 19 new areas were designated as rent pressure zones.

The latest report from the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB)’s rent index showed that the national standardised average rent is €1,169 per month. This is an 8.3% increase (€90) annually and 2.1% quarter-on-quarter increase.

While growth remains high in Dublin with the average rent of €1,662 per month, an increase of 8.5% (€70) on the previous year, rental inflation has been highest in areas outside the Greater Dublin Area with an increase of 9.6% year on year.

In a bid to make rent affordable in a number of areas, 19 new rent pressure zones were announced today.

These are designated areas where rents cannot be increased by more than 4% per annum. 

The new areas are:

  • Meath: Kells, Trim
  • Louth: Ardee, Dundalk South, Dundalk – Carlingford
  • Wicklow: Arklow
  • Galway: Athenry/Oranmore, Gort/Kinvara
  • Wexford: Gorey
  • Cork: Midleton, Fermoy
  • Laois: Portlaoise, Graiguecullen/Portarlington
  • Waterford: Waterford City East, Waterford City South
  • Westmeath: Athlone
  • Limerick: Limerick City West, Limerick City North
  • Kilkenny

Commenting on the latest Rent Index results, Rosalind Carroll, Director of the Residential Tenancies Board said:

“The RTB Rent Index is an important tool in helping understand and inform the rental sector.  It is clear that rising rents continue to put pressure on the market. There are a number of complex reasons behind this that policy makers will need to continue to monitor and consider.”

Carroll added: “It is really important that landlords and tenants go to www.rtb.ie where they can check if their rental home is in a Rent Pressure Zone and what rent can be charged.”

The report found that Dublin’s rental market continues to be the largest in the country, accounting for nearly two-in-five new tenancies that were registered with the RTB. The standardised average rent in the capital stood at €1,662 up from €1,532. This is an 8.5% increase annually.

Elsewhere in the country, the second-highest standardised average rents in Q1 2019 were in Cork City at €1,158 per month. However it experienced its slowest growth slowest out of the cities at 7.1%.

Galway City average rents stood at €1,093, with Waterford having the fastest growth rate of 13.7% annually – with a standard average rent of €826.

The new zones were raised in Leaders’ Questions today by Labour Leader Brendan Howlin, who said the rollout of more RPZs is “clearly unsustainable”. 

He said the 4% increase cap is essentially giving landlords a “green light” to hike up rents, adding that affordability should be the benchmark. 

“We can see thousands of people being pushed out of the rental sector and pushed into homelessness,” said Howlin, who called on the government to increase wages so that people can meet the cost of rising rents. 

He also called on the government to modify the RPZ regulations, by setting allowable rent increases by landlords at 1% every three years, rather than the current 4% every two years.

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