Limerick remains outside rent pressure zone despite costs above average
Minister: More landlords may be forced out of market which will not help tenants
Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Eoghan Murphy said that while Limerick East and West met the criteria Limerick city north did not. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill
Limerick will not become a rent pressure zone despite two of its three electoral areas having rents above the national average, the Dáil has heard.
Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy said that while Limerick East and West met the criteria with rent rises of more than 7 per cent in five of the past six quarters, Limerick city north did not.
He acknowledged there were significant rent pressures in areas like Limerick but“the legislation as drafted does not allow for me, the Housing Agency or local authorities to take a different approach”.
And he warned they had to ensure that any action they took did not make things worse by forcing more landlords out of the market as that would not protect tenants. More than 1,500 landlords had left the rental market since 2015,.
Labour housing spokeswoman Jan O’Sullivan had called for Limerick and Waterford cities to be included in the rent pressure zones where rents cannot be increased by more than 4 per cent a year. The average national rent is €1,122.
She called on the Minister to review the two-year-old legislation and said Limerick city east and west would be included if he introduced regulations to look at rent through electoral districts rather than the larger electoral area, which included rural areas with low rents.
She said places like Dooradoyle and Castletroy were areas “where rents are very high, where there are quite a large number of rental properties and people are under huge pressure”.
Average rents were over €1,000 and €1,103.57 on average in Limerick city east.
“They both meet the criteria for the number of quarterly increases of over 7 per cent which is required under the legislation.”
She said it was unfair when compared to Dublin where “by and large an urban area is an urban area”.
She said that in places like Limerick and Waterford both had extensive rural areas of their counties included when average rents were calculated.
“It means renters in the urban parts of those local electoral areas have to put up with really high rent increases that are causing homelessness. The Minister needs to look at it.”
“Since 2015, we have lost over 1,500 landlords. Some of them own more than one property, which means even more tenancies than that have been affected.
“In everything we do, we have to make sure we are protecting the tenant as best we can. We are not protecting a tenant if we are bringing in measures that are forcing landlords out of the market. That would be making the situation worse.”