That leave be granted to introduce a Bill entitled an Act to amend the Residential Tenancies Act 2004 (as amended by the Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Act 2016) to extend rent pressure zone regulations to student accommodation.
With this Bill my party and I are seeking to expand the provisions for the rent pressures zones to cover purpose-built student accommodation. As the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government will know, student accommodation is not covered by the Residential Tenancies Act 2016 as it constitutes a licence to reside similar to a hotel rather than a tenancy. The Bill will extend the rent pressure zone rent cap of 4% to student accommodation by extending the definition to encompass student accommodation.
I have produced the Bill in the light of massive increases in rent for student accommodation from Dublin to Galway. The Bill will ensure students will not pay way above the odds for rental accommodation in what is already a very competitive market. I look forward to working on the Bill with others and the Government in order to address the issue. I know that the Government is also aware that we cannot allow a situation to continue where students are being charged rent increases of 27% or 30% year on year. The provisions included in the Bill will apply to purpose-built student accommodation.
I thank students' unions all across the country for feeding into the Bill and those who came to me with their own testimonies and stories. We have had students leaving college because they could not afford to pay for accommodation. The Bill is a step towards resolving the issue.