Thursday, 3 June 2021
Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government
272. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government if renters will be protected from potential rent increases of 8% in some instances; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30372/21]
The Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (Covid-19) Act 2020 provided that a rent increase was not permitted to take effect during the relevant emergency period from 27 March 2020 to 1 August 2020. From 1 August 2020, the blanket ban on rent increases inside or outside of a Rent Pressure Zone (RPZ) was lifted. Despite the lifting of the ban, the standardised average rent rose by just 2.5% to €1,256 from Q2 2020 to Q3 2020 and remained at that level in Q4 2020.
The Residential Tenancies and Valuation Act 2020 (RTVA) provided that rent increases were not permitted to take effect during an emergency period, from 1 August 2020 until 10 January 2021, for tenants with rent arrears due to Covid-19 and at risk of losing their tenancy who make the necessary declaration. This ban on rent increases was targeted at the most vulnerable of tenants inside and outside of RPZs.
The Planning and Development, and Residential Tenancies, Act 2020 (PDRTA) provides that a rent increase is not permitted to take effect during an emergency period from 11 January 2021 until 12 July 2021, for tenants with rent arrears due to Covid-19 and at risk of losing their tenancy who make the necessary declaration. This ban on rent increases is also targeted at the most vulnerable of tenants inside and outside of RPZs. The delimiting of landlords’ constitutionally protected property rights has been carefully and effectively targeted in this regard.
Rent reviews could be carried out at all times during the pandemic and rent decreases could, and can, take effect. A rent increase is not payable by relevant tenants in respect of the emergency periods identified above. It is payable by relevant tenants from the end of the given emergency period.
The maximum rent increase is 4% per annum in RPZs, irrespective of the emergency legislation. Where a rent increase cannot be given effect for certain tenants during an emergency period, a total increase of greater than 4% can apply where the necessary rent review notice(s) have been served. In all cases, a tenant must be given 90 days’ notice before a rent increase takes effect.
The targeted ban on rent increases under the PDRTA is due to expire on 12 July 2021. A further extension of the PDRTA protections is currently under consideration, to afford more time to the most vulnerable tenants to recover their financial stability.
The emergency protections against rent increases and evictions for the most vulnerable tenants has meant that they could remain in their home and not face higher rent during the pandemic. The annual 4% rent increase restriction in RPZs is the maximum allowable increase and landlords are encouraged to consider their tenants’ situation in the context of any rent review.
My Department, the Housing Agency and the RTB keep the operation of the rental market under review. Comprehensive rental legislation is planned for the Autumn, with provisions to help provide long term security of tenure for tenants at affordable rents.