Rent increase leads to rent rise capping measure in Laois.
Rent increases are to be capped in Portarlington after it emerged it is to be designated as Rent Pressure Zones (RPZs).
In what is the first extension of the measure to Laois, the Portlaoise and Graiguecullen-Portarlington Electoral Areas will see yearly rent increases capped at 4%.
The measure which has been approved by the Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy applies to new and existing tenancies unless an exemption is being applied.
The two electoral areas include the areas of Laois that have seen rapid rises in population and demand for housing. Rents have risen at a sustained level as a result.
The new zones stretches from the Offaly border to the Carlow and Kildare borders as well as the towns of Portlaoise and Abbeyleix.
The designations come on foot of the Residential Tenancies Board’s Rent Index Report for Q1 2019 and is produced in conjunction with the Economic and Social Research Institute.
The Rent Index Report contains the rent information on which the new designations are based.
Laois TD and Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan has welcomed the announcement.
"I am acutely aware of the high level of unsustainable rents in Co Laois and have addressed this issue with my colleague and Minister for Housing, Eoghan Murphy on a number of occasions.
"I am pleased that under new designations, 19 new areas, including two in Laois, will now come under the 4% annual cap. As a result of the new rent reforms that were introduced into law last month, approximately 65% of renters are now covered by rent controls.
“It is also welcome that Minister Murphy has commenced other parts of the Residential Tenancies Act 2019, which make it a criminal offence for landlords to implement rent increases that contravene the law; providing powers to the RTB to investigate and administratively sanction landlords who engage in improper conduct including non-compliance with the rent increase restriction in RPZs and allowing the RTB to initiate an investigation without the need for a complaint to be made,” he said.
RPZs were introduced two years ago.
The Residential Tenancies Board says RPZs are located in parts of the country where rents are highest and rising, and where households have the greatest difficulty finding affordable accommodation.
It says they are intended to moderate the rise in rents in these areas and create a stable and sustainable rental market that allows landlord and tenants to plan financially for their future.
For an area to be designated a Rent Pressure Zone, the average rent in the previous quarter must be above the average national rent in the quarter.
The annual rate of rent inflation in the area must have been 7% or more in four of the last six quarters.
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