Seanad debates

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business

 

10:30 am

Photo of Tim LombardTim Lombard (Fine Gael)

I rise this morning to discuss the issue of rent pressure zones and the recent changes made and not made by the Residential Tenancies Board. There is a need to debate with the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government where we are going with rent pressure zones and how effective they have been in some areas. The Leader will have a great interest in what I am going to say about the town of Carrigaline, half of which is in a rent pressure zone while the other half is not. The metrics formulated in respect of the new constituency boundaries meant the only way it would work was if the northern half of Carrigaline was removed from the zone, which is not appropriate. This is about looking at rent pressure zones and how we deal with them. We are dealing with them on a local-election constituency basis but that is to base them on too great a geographical area. It does not make logical sense to have a rent pressure zone in one local election district. We need to look at legislation on how we define a rent pressure zone. A rent pressure zone should include a town and its hinterland. For example, Kinsale is not in a rent pressure zone. It is literally 20 miles away from the rent pressure zone in Cork city yet it has the highest rents in Ireland. We need to do something so that places like Kinsale do not have the extraordinary rents they do and which are increasing on a multiple basis.

The whole precept of basing rent pressure zones on electoral districts does not make sense. We need to look at it again and change it. Carrigaline as an entity needs to be together as a single rent pressure zone. Kinsale must also be zoned because the pressure is within the town, not its rural hinterland. The Leader might back me on this. We need to get the Minister, Deputy Eoghan Murphy, in here for a serious debate about where we are going to go on rent pressure zones. People are paying extraordinary rents in some areas and we must ensure we give them the benefit of the security of a rent pressure zone. For that to happen, we must change how we measure and define things. We are defining these zones too widely and need to bring them back down to the urban centres where the greatest pressures exist.

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