Government orders crackdown on rogue landlords as rents skyrocket across country


Rents across Ireland rose at a rate of 7% nationwide for the second quarter of 2021, a level of increase that the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) described as a ’cause for concern’.

The report focuses on the period in which the country left the lockdown and notes a particular increase in rents in suburban areas near cities.

Nationally, the average monthly rent now stands at € 1,352 per month.

In Cork City, year-over-year increases of 6.3% were reported, followed by a higher figure in County Cork at 9.4%.

The standardized average rent in Cork City was € 1,344 per month in the second quarter of 2021, almost € 300 more than in County Cork at € 1,051.

Cork is also one of ten counties with standardized average rents above € 1,000 per month.

Limerick is the only other Munster county to be included in this group, as Limerick City rents rose significantly in the second quarter by 8.7%. The standardized average rent for the city was € 1,196 according to the RTB.

Waterford has seen rent prices rise at a rate of 9%, but it is the only city in the country with average rents below € 1,000 to € 969.

The rate of increase matches similar figures reported elsewhere in the country, as rents outside Dublin have increased at a rate of inflation of 10.4% year-over-year.

In Dublin, year-over-year rental price inflation stood at 4.4%, but the average rent is much higher at € 1,848 per month.

This compares to standardized average rents of € 1,058 per month outside the county.

Risk of non-compliance

Speaking about the latest national rent price hike, Padraig McGoldrick, acting director of RTB, said national rent increases had rebounded after an initial slowdown due to Covid lockdowns.

With the return to economic activity, rents are rising in the suburban belt near Dublin, indicating that the pandemic has pushed people away from urban areas.

The RTB has yet to examine the effect of new legislation tying rents to inflation instead of a 4% cap, but Mr McGlodrick said the reported level of increase was still concerning.

“While the latest rent levels will not yet have been impacted by the change in rent setting rules introduced in July, the level of increase in Q2 2021 is a source of concern and, if there may be any Legitimate reasons reflecting the rate of increase, it may also indicate an unacceptable level of non-compliance by landlords with rent setting regulations restricting rent increases in Rent Pressure Zones (RPZ).

“The impact of failure to comply with these measures can be very serious, and RTB is committed to ensuring increased compliance with these requirements,” he said.

Mr McGoldrick said RTB is currently investigating more than 400 cases of non-compliance by landlords with regard to rent increases.

“When landlords circumvent the law relating to RPZ rent ceilings, the RTB has the power to investigate and apply sanctions, with fines of up to € 15,000 and / or costs of up to € 15,000. 000 €.

“In the second quarter of 2021, the RTB opened nearly 400 investigations into inappropriate behavior and to date, nearly € 260,000 has been reimbursed to current and former tenants as a direct consequence of a violation of the rules for setting rents” , did he declare.

Repression

The Housing Minister has called on RTB to crack down on rogue landlords following the spike in increases.

Darragh O’Brien called on the watchdog to “identify and aggressively pursue non-compliance with rent setting responsibilities”.

Mr O’Brien said he was deeply concerned at the level of reported price increases and said he was committed to providing full protection to tenants who rent in Ireland.

Noting RTB’s capacity for sanctions and investigations, Mr O’Brien said failure to comply with RPZ legislation should be understood as a serious offense.

“They are an essential pillar of rental policy and the impact of failing to comply with these measures can have serious repercussions – it is essential that people understand that failure to comply with RPZ legislation is a serious offense.

“In this context, I have asked RTB to ensure that its full powers and resources are used to launch and execute a strong and in-depth campaign to identify non-conformities and violations of the increase restrictions. RPZ rents and related procedures, including those related to rent reviews and notification of exemptions from restrictions, ”he said.

The minister said more work would be done to highlight the penalties for non-compliance with the RPZ and encouraged tenants to use the RTB rent pressure zone calculator for price increases.

“I am particularly worried about tenants who may be facing or are already facing a rent increase due to their landlord’s non-compliance.

“I encourage anyone looking for more information on Rent Pressure Zones to visit the RTB website where a new Rent Pressure Zone Calculator is available to help landlords, rental agents and property owners. tenants understand whether a rent increase is allowed and, if so, the upper limit allowed, “he said.


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