Tuesday, 14 May 2019
Residential Tenancies (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 2018: Second Stage
When a tenant moves on from a property that falls within a rent pressure zone, the rent that the landlord charges the new tenant must be based on the rent charged to the outgoing tenant. Should such a landlord be entitled to charge the new tenant a reasonable market rent? In many cases, landlords in rent pressure zones hiked up their rents in a way that inadvertently drove up the overall level of rent in the area. While we are waiting for supply to catch up, we must find a model that enables us to get reasonable rents for people. An affordable model for people needs to be fast-tracked. I commend the Minister on his efforts in this regard.
The Airbnb issue is a tricky and difficult one to deal with. We cannot have people being fleeced by what is being charged on Airbnb. People in specific situations might be using Airbnb for no more than a couple of months of the year. I suggest that reasonable rents and proper rights for tenants are the factors at play here. When I am contacted by tenants who have received letters from rogue landlords who want to dump them out early, I look at the types of periods to which they are entitled. If they do not contact me, they are at risk of being put out two or three months early. Equally, I am contacted by landlords who have rogue tenants. We need to find that balance all the time. When the Minister comes up with the detail of the scheme, I expect we will look at it in greater detail. I know he is open to suggestions. It is about getting a model that strikes a fair and equitable balance for tenants and landlords and, in particular, ensures people can afford rents. My background is that I was self-employed for many years. We are dealing with this issue on the ground on a daily basis. When I was here earlier, I commented to someone sitting beside me that this is a most important debate. In my view, it is taking place too late at night. It is highly unlikely that it will get reported. This is a critical debate. I commend it.