My Department has conducted a review of the Rent Predictability Measure on the basis of the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) rent data and a public consultation on the operation of the Rent Pressure Zones (RPZs). Arising from the review findings, I announced a number of measures to further strengthen the effectiveness of the rent setting and rent review laws, including the implementation of a change plan to develop and strengthen the role of the RTB, particularly with regard to enforcement.
These measures include the intention to sanction a landlord who increases rent in contravention of the legislation and to provide the RTB with the necessary powers and resources to protect tenants from illegal rent increases. These changes will strengthen the impact of the Rent Predictability Measure and should contribute to a further slowing in the growth in rents, in tandem with increasing supply.
The Government approved the priority drafting of the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Bill on 17 April 2018 and the Bill is currently being drafted as a priority by the Office of Parliamentary Counsel.
The Bill will further strengthen the effectiveness of the rent setting and rent review laws by empowering the RTB to:
- investigate any contravention of the law around rent limits (4% per annum) in RPZs and to take enforcement action, if necessary, including the imposition of sanctions on landlords in breach; and
- initiate an investigation without the need for a complaint to be made.
These proposed powers for the RTB are also a crucial first step in expanding the role and function of the RTB as part of a multi-annual change management programme to proactively enforce the law within the rental sector. The Bill is expected to be published shortly.