Rent hikes of up to 25% spark protest outside landlord’s offices

Ires Reit says Sandyford apartment block not subject to rent pressure zone restrictions

Residents of The Maple Apartments in Beacon South Quarter in Sandyford Dublin hold up their rent review letters outside the offices of the landlord, I-Res, in Sandyford on Friday evening. Photograph: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

Residents of The Maple Apartments in Beacon South Quarter in Sandyford Dublin hold up their rent review letters outside the offices of the landlord, I-Res, in Sandyford on Friday evening. Photograph: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

 

A group of tenants have held a demonstration outside the offices of landlord Ires Reit to protest a hike in their rent of up to 25 per cent.

The tenants of the Maple Apartments, in Beacon South Quarter, Sandyford, Dublin, were informed by letter that the rent is increasing from January 1st.

Students, families, and couples who rent the apartments were among those at the demonstration, which was also attended by People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett.

The letter, seen by The Irish Times, shows Ires Reit is relying on an exemption from rent pressure zone legislation, which limits rent increases to 4 per cent, for the block. This is because “the dwelling has not been the subject of a tenancy in the two years prior to the area being designated as a rent pressure zone”.

Rent pressure zones were introduced in 2016 in Dublin and other areas where the costs of accommodation for tenants were rising fastest.

A young woman tenant who did not wish to be named said she believed Ireland’s largest private landlord Ires Reit “have found a way around the rules”.

“Last week, we received a letter from Ires, the letting company/landlord, that our rent for our three-bedroom apartment will increase by €475 from €2,325 to €2,800, which is approximately 20 per cent,” she said.

She said the sharp increase means they will be forced to move out as may several young families with children, as all the apartments within the blocks are subject to increases ranging from 20-25 per cent.

Mr Boyd Barrett, who met the tenants on Friday afternoon, said corporate landlords were exploiting legislation as it was “full of loopholes”.

He said the Opposition had been pointing this out.

“This shocking attempt to get around the 4 per cent rent cap is being facilitated by the Government because of its failure to close off loopholes in the Residential Tenancies Legislation, despite consistent pleas to do so by opposition parties and housing NGO’s,” he said.

A spokeswoman for Ires Reit confirmed it had written to “some” tenants in The Maple, Beacon South Quarter, “in accordance with the Residential Tenancies Board, to advise them of proposed rental increases in 2019 which are in line with market rates”.

She said the increases range from 4 per cent “upwards”, with only a minority “of the order of 20-25 per cent”.

“In these cases, it will bring them in line with market rates in comparable rental properties,” she said. “I-Res Reit will discuss the proposed changes with its tenants over the coming months. “

As a new build, The Maple is not part of the Rent Pressure Zone, she added.

According to the company, the Maple opened in August 2017. Leases are yearly.