Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Questions (71)

Mick Wallace

Question:

71. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if he will consider introducing rent controls for Gorey, County Wexford; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24026/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

Section 24A of the Residential Tenancies Act 2004, as amended, provides that the Housing Agency, in consultation with housing authorities, may make a proposal to the Minister that an area should be considered for designation as a Rent Pressure Zone. Following receipt of such a proposal, the Minister requests the Director of the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) to conduct an assessment of the area to establish whether or not it meets the criteria for designation and to report to the Minister on whether the area should be designated as a Rent Pressure Zone. For the purpose of the Act, ‘area’ is defined as either the administrative area of a housing authority or a local electoral area within the meaning of section 2 of the Local Government Act 2001.

Up until recently, for an area to be designated a Rent Pressure Zone, it must have satisfied the following criteria set out in section 24A(4) of the Residential Tenancies Act 2004 (as inserted by section 36 of the Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Act 2016):

(i) the annual rate of rent inflation in the area must have been 7% or more in four of the last six quarters; and

(ii) the average rent for tenancies registered in the area with the RTB in the last quarter must be above the average national rent (the National Standardised Rent in the RTB’s Rent Index Report) in the last quarter (€1,134 per month in Q4 2018).

However, on 30 May 2019, I signed the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 2019 (Commencement) Order 2019 which appointed 31 May 2019 and 4 June 2019 as the dates on which specified provisions of the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 2019 came into effect, including provisions in respect of the average rent qualifying criterion for RPZ designation.

Using RTB data, (i) the rent of a dwelling in the Greater Dublin Area (Kildare, Wicklow and Meath) will now be compared to the average rent across the country, excluding Dublin rents; and (ii) the rent of a dwelling outside of the Greater Dublin Area will be compared to the average rent across the country, excluding the Greater Dublin Area rents.

The RTB Rent Index Report includes a summary in Table 9 of the data used to establish whether each Local Electoral Area fulfils the criteria for designation as a Rent Pressure Zone. This ensures transparency in relation to the position of individual areas in terms of average rent levels and increases.

Further information on Rent Pressure Zones and designations is available on my Department's website at https://www.housing.gov.ie/PUBLICATIONS, by searching 'rent pressure zones - information'.

The data from the Rent Index Report for Q4 2018 relating to the local electoral area of Gorey, County Wexford is detailed in the following table.

Local Electoral Area

Quarters > 7%

Average 2018 Q4

Gorey

5

€868.02

In Gorey, while more than 4 of the last 6 quarters have seen rent inflation of 7% or greater, the average monthly rent is below the national standardised rent of €1,134 per month. Therefore, the Local Electoral Area of Gorey did not meet the criteria for designation.

The Q1 2019 RTB Rent Index, which is due to be published later this month, will allow the Housing Agency to recommend areas to be considered for designation using the new criteria as set out in the 2019 Act. Where, following the procedures set out in the Act, it is found that additional areas meet the new criteria, they will be designated as Rent Pressure Zones.