The Government’s Strategy for the Rental Sector recognises that rapidly increasing rental inflation is the most significant challenge to security of tenure in the rental sector and that there is a need for a targeted, time-bound and transparent policy response to the issue of rising rents. To address this, the Government introduced the Rent Predictability Measure. This measure, which was provided for by the Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Act 2016, introduced the concept of Rent Pressure Zones (RPZs) to moderate the rate of rent increases in those areas of the country where rents are highest and rising quickly.
The first rent review in relation to a property in a new Rent Pressure Zone (RPZ) can only take place 24 months after the time that the tenancy was established or 24 months after the time that the rent was last set in respect of the dwelling in question. Thereafter, rent reviews can take place annually in RPZs. Tenants must be given 90 days’ notice of a new rent and can make an application for dispute resolution to the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) if they consider the rent increase to be in excess of the market rent. A dispute can also be raised where the dwelling is located in a RPZ and the tenant considers that the rent increase does not comply with the 4% p.a. rent increase restriction.
In the case of a tenancy of a dwelling in an RPZ, a landlord must, at the commencement of the tenancy, furnish the tenant with details of the amount of the previous rent for the dwelling and the date that it was set. In reviewing a rent in a RPZ, the landlord must also provide the tenant with 3 examples of rents for similar properties in a comparable area.
The rent increase restriction of 4% p.a. in RPZs equally applies to social housing tenancies under the Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS). Where the local authority in a RPZ wishes to offer a new RAS contract or to review a RAS rent, the rent increase restriction provisions under the Residential Tenancies Acts 2004-2019 apply as outlined above. It is a matter for each local authority, as the lessee in RAS contracts, to ensure compliance with the RPZ legislation in respect of RAS dwellings. The application of the Rent Predictability measures in RPZs assist local authorities and tenants to secure units within the private rental market at a more sustainable and predictable cost.
The RTB provides information in relation to rent setting in RPZs at the following weblink: https://onestopshop.rtb.ie/rent-pressure-zones/.