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29 May 2022

Housing charity says there's a 'blatant disregard' for rent pressure zones

Housing charity says there's a 'blatant disregard' for rent pressure zones

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Figures released in the latest Daft Rental Price Report suggest a blatant disregard of the Rent Pressure Zone (RPZ) legislation, according to Threshold, the national housing charity.

Cork, Dublin, Galway, Limerick, Co. Kildare, Co. Meath and Co Louth, are all RPZ areas, yet cited rents increased between 6% and 11% in the last twelve months. Rents in these areas cannot be increased by more than general inflation as recorded by the Consumer Price Index - or by 2% per annum - where this is higher.

The cost of living is one of the most significant concerns for people throughout the country, with unrelenting growth in rents for the past 10 years, and one-in-five private tenants in Ireland spending more than 40% of their disposable income on rent. Close to one-in-10 private renters pay more than 60% of their earnings on rent, and are also at greater risk of poverty, more likely to be burdened by debt and have gone without heat at least once in the last year.

“Given these statistics, it seems strange for Daft to argue for the removal of rent regulation between tenancies,” commented Threshold chief executive John-Mark McCafferty.

“The Daft reports shows the number of properties available to rent was at a new all-time low on February 1st last, and the average national rent is almost double what it was 10 years ago. In the same period, average weekly earnings increased by only 22%,” he said.

“This reflects the trends witnessed by Threshold advisors, who found approximately half of the rent review notices brought to them in 2021, were invalid. Unfortunately, in some cases the tenant accepts the invalid notice for fear of being unable to find a new rental home. Threshold urges all private renters to get in touch when they receive a rent review to check the validity of the rent increase.

“With the rising cost of living, it will become increasingly difficult for private renters to pay these increases, as well as their other bills. These renters will always prioritise the money required to keep a roof over their head, meaning they may go without heat or be forced to cut back on other essential expenditure.”

The rent increases outside of the Rent Pressure Zones are equally worrying, according to the charity. Increases as high as 25% in Co. Leitrim, 24% in Donegal and 20% in Co. Mayo equate to monthly rent increases of approximately €150 to €160 a month. This amounts to almost €2,000 a year, in addition to the extra funds required by households to meet the increased cost of living, with inflation at a 20 year high of 5.5%. Private renters outside of the Rent Pressure Zones are now being left at the mercy of the market.

Threshold’s helpline is open Monday to Friday, 9am- 9pm at 1800 454 454, with webchat at www.threshold.ie/advice/help for any renter in need of advice or support.

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