Urgent review of rent pressure zones required – Ó Broin
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Housing Eoin Ó Broin TD has called on the Minster for Housing Simon Coveney to conduct an urgent review of rent pressure zones as figures published this by Daft.ie show that, yet again, rents are at a record high across the state. The report states that the average rent is now €1,131, with Dublin rents up 13.9% year on year.
Deputy Ó Broin said:
“Daft’s figures for Q1 of 2017 show that rents are continuing to rise to unsustainable levels. The data also indicates that a two tier rental market is emerging. Sitting tenants within the rent pressure zones are facing rent increases of 4%, while those new to the rental market or tenants searching for new home after being evicted are facing rent increases of 50%.
“Unfortunately, while this trend is worrying, it is not surprising. The introduction of rent pressure zones was supposed to restrain rents and limit annual increases. This lacklustre attempt at cooling the rental market is not working and now the Minister needs to investigate why.
“A number of questions now need to be answered. Are landlords breaching the caps set by the new legislation? At the moment, the tenant themselves is responsible for ensuring that landlords are complying with the new legislation and again it is up to the tenant to issue proceedings against the landlord if they are not. With the supply of rental properties so limited, only 3,100 properties to rent across the state, many tenants are reluctant to go down this route for fear of being evicted.
“For those renting outside the designated rent pressure zones, they are left to the mercy of the market. The Daft report states that since 2013, market rents have risen by just over 50% across the state. There are little or no measures in place to protect these tenants from unfair rent increases.
“Sinn Féin has tabled numerous Bills and amendments calling for the introduction of real rent certainty. This would index link rents to the consumer price index. Unfortunately, both Fine Gael and Fianna Fail failed to support this measure, which would have provided real breathing space to all tenants.
“Rent certainty alone is not the key to solving the rental crisis. Tenants also need greater security of tenure. The Minister must reconsider his opposition to a Focus Ireland amendment to the Residential Tenancies Act. This measure would prevent buy-to-let landlords, who took advantage of generous tax breaks when purchasing their properties, from issuing vacant possession notice to families when they want to sell the property. This measure alone would prevent more families from going homeless and would keep properties on the rental market.
“The Minister’s focus on increasing supply through construction is not bearing fruit and will take years to have an impact. He needs to utilise existing vacant properties and amend existing legislation to provide greater security to tenants.”