Written answers

Thursday, 9 March 2023

Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government

Rental Sector

Photo of Michael LowryMichael Lowry (Tipperary, Independent)
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213. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government when a review of the current designated rent pressure zones will be completed; if he will review the standardised average rent for County Tipperary to ascertain if the county now qualifies as a RPZ; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12042/23]

Photo of Darragh O'BrienDarragh O'Brien (Dublin Fingal, Fianna Fail)
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As set out in the Housing for All Action Plan Update (published in November, 2022), my Department has commissioned a comprehensive review of the private rental sector. This review will take into account the significant regulatory changes over the past several years will report on how our housing system could provide an efficient, affordable, safe and secure framework for both landlords and tenants.

This review will include a thematic review of the principal and relevant elements of the Rental Market and the Government will act on its recommendations. Its conclusion will be utilised to inform future policy direction for the Rental Market.

The review which is already underway and will be concluded as early as possible, will include a public consultation as well as targeted engagement of various external stakeholders.

The Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Act 2016 introduced the Rent Predictability Measure to moderate rent increases in those parts of the country where rents are highest and rising fastest. The Residential Tenancies (No. 2) Act 2021 introduced measures in July 2021 to extend the operation of Rent Pressure Zones (RPZs) until the end of 2024 and prohibit any necessary rent increase in an RPZ from exceeding general inflation, as recorded by the Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices (HICP). The Act also provides that rent reviews outside of RPZs can, until 31st December 2024, occur no more frequently than bi-annually. This provides rent certainty for tenants outside of RPZs for a minimum 2 year period at a time.

Section 24A of the Residential Tenancies Act provides that the Housing Agency, in consultation with housing authorities, may make a proposal to me, as Minister, that an area should be considered as a RPZ. Following receipt of such a proposal, I, as Minister, request the Director of the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) to conduct an assessment of the area to establish whether or not it meets the criteria for designation and to report to me on whether the area should be designated as a RPZ.

The criteria to be satisfied by an area under section 24A(4) of the Acts for designation as an RPZ are as follows:

- the information relating to the area, as determined by reference to the information used to compile each RTB Rent Index quarterly report, shows that the annual rate of increase in the average amount of rent for that area is more than 7% in each of at least 4 of the 6 quarters preceding the period immediately prior to the date of the Housing Agency's proposal, and

- the average rent for the area in the last quarter, as determined by reference to the information used to compile each RTB Rent Index quarterly report, is –

- in the case of counties Kildare, Meath and Wicklow or a local electoral area (LEA) in any one of those counties, above the average rent in the State, excluding rents in the 4 Dublin Local Authority areas, or

- in the case of any LEA outside of the Greater Dublin Area (i.e. Dublin, Kildare, Meath and Wicklow), above the average rent in the State excluding rents in the Greater Dublin Area.

Each RTB quarterly Rent Index Report includes a table of the data used to establish whether each LEA fulfils the criteria for designation as a RPZ.

The Housing Agency and the RTB continue to monitor national rents and if any LEA in county Tipperary meets the designation criteria it will be designated as a RPZ.


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