Rent pressure zones no substitute for real rent certainty - Ó Broin
Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin TD has urged the government to seriously consider introducing real certainty measures as it commences its review of the rent pressure zone (RPZ) model.
Deputy Ó Broin said:
“Last week Sinn Féin submitted our observations on the rent pressure zone system. We outlined a number of concerns we have about the current model. Central to this was the fact that 43% of tenancies remain outside RPZ areas. Tenants in these zones are still left to the mercy of market dictated rent hikes.
“With the introduction of rent pressure zones has also helped to create a two-tier rental market. Tenants who are lucky enough to be in the same home for a number of years at least know that their rent within a rent pressure zone will rise by 4% per year. New entrants to the private rented sector do not have this protection.
“Tenants should not be responsible for policing the implementation of the rent pressure regulations. It is up to potential tenants to inquire when viewing a new property if the rent advertised is only 4% higher than it was for the previous tenants.
“We have also heard anecdotal evidence from constituency offices that landlords are breaching the 4% rent increase cap by requesting illegal top-ups. Some of these landlords are indicating to tenants they will evict them if they don't pay. Unless tenants are acutely aware of their rights, they are vulnerable to this type of behaviour.
“Ultimately Sinn Féin is of the view that the government should use this review as an opportunity to introduce real rent certainty index linked to something like the CPI. The RPZ rules do still guarantee landlords a 12.5% increase over three years.
“Rents are still at un-sustainable levels and new entrants to the private rented sector are paying more and more to secure a tenancy.
“Failing this and working within the rent pressure zone model we believe that that it should be extended across the state in order to include the 43% of tenancies left to the mercy of the market.
“The Residential Tenancies Board should be adequately resourced to actively ensure that landlords are complying with the 4% rent increase cap. There should be heavy penalties imposed on those landlords who breach the RPZ legislation.”