Rent pressure zones: 19 new locations across State added to list

Move is most significant expansion of zones since they were introduced – Eoghan Murphy

Rent pressure zones are designated areas where rents cannot be increased by more than 4 per cent per annum. File photograph: iStockPhoto

Rent pressure zones are designated areas where rents cannot be increased by more than 4 per cent per annum. File photograph: iStockPhoto

 

Athlone, Dundalk, Portlaoise and parts of both Limerick and Waterford city are among the 19 new rent pressure zones (RPZs) announced by the Government.

The zones cover 11 counties. The areas involved are Ardee, Arklow, Athenry-Oranmore, Athlone (Westmeath side), Dundalk-Carlingford and Dundalk-South, Fermoy, Gorey, Gort-Kinvara, Graiguecullen-Portarlington, Kells, Kilkenny, Limerick city north and west, Midleton, Portlaoise, Trim, Waterford city east and Waterford city south*.

An RPZ is a designated area where rents cannot be increased by more than 4 per cent per annum. This applies to new and existing tenancies (unless an exemption is being applied).

They were first introduced in December 2016 to curb escalating rents in Dublin and Cork and were extended in early 2017 to include Galway city and commuter towns around Dublin.

They have since been expanded to other commuter towns such as Bray, Greystones and Wicklow town, Drogheda, Navan and parts of Limerick city.

The Department of Housing says the latest tranche of places means 65 per cent of rented accommodation in the State is covered by it.

Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy said the 19 new places amounted to the most significant expansion in the zones since they were introduced.

The designations come on foot of the Residential Tenancies Board’s Rent Index Report for Q1 2019 which was published on Monday and is produced in conjunction with the Economic and Social Research Institute.

The Minister said: “Rents are still too high and in some parts of the country are still rising unsustainably. This was anticipated, and that’s why we moved to change the criteria for RPZ designation. It is also why we strengthened the enforcement of existing rent pressure zones.

“These changes will take time to have an effect as they have only recently become law. It is also important to remember that the short-term letting reforms should now also see an increased supply of long-term lets which should also help tackle rising rents.”

Mr Murphy said he had been under pressure to introduce a rent freeze, but declined to do so.

“Rent freezes might seem like a good idea for people who are currently renting because they freeze the rent. But they also freeze the supply and that is not helpful in terms of people who are looking for somewhere new to rent today or tomorrow. We will continue to monitor rent pressures and make improvements in line with the recommendations of the Residential Tenancies Board.”

*Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Waterford city west was a new zone, rather than Waterford city south.