Rent controls a 'injustice' and could drive costs up for tenants in Portlaoise and other towns

Auctioneers and valuers against rent controls in towns like Portlaoise that are outside the designated pressure zones where rent increases have been capped

By Conor Ganly

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By Conor Ganly

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news@leinsterexpress.ie

Rent.

Rents in Laois rising faster than in Dublin or in the rest of the country.

Auctioneers and valuers claim that rent controls in Portlaoise and other towns will lead to major increases in areas not designated as pressure zones.

Alan Redmond, MD of Redmond Property Consultants and IPAV President, speaking ahead of a special seminar on lettings to be held at the Portlaoise Heritage Hotel this evening (February 28) said the introduction of such “crude” rent controls will have severe unintended consequences in the market.

“No consideration was given to landlords within the pressure zones who are not charging headline rents.  Many such landlords did not raise rents to market level, generally because they want to hold onto good tenants. 

"They now find they are being punished. Even where their tenants move on they are restricted to increases of no more than 4pc per year.  Many among them would be servicing loans with repayments way beyond the rental income and they are paying much higher taxes than commercial landlords,” he said.

"Those outside of the designated rent pressure zones watching this injustice will be determined not to get caught by potential forthcoming controls and will move to increase rents to market level. This could involve large increases, some of the order of several hundred euro per month,” he said.

 Mr Redmond said 55% of rental contracts registered with the RTB are in pressure zones but there are no official figures indicating what percentage of this 55% are earning headline rents.

He said there is strong evidence that before the introduction of rent controls late last year, rental inflation had already started to cool. He said rather than rent controls which will drive more landlords out of the sector, it is the lack of supply of properties that needs to be addressed with more intense measures. 

Rents are rising faster in Laois than nationally and in Dublin while Laois is in the top three counties for highest rate of increase, according to the latest figures from Daft.ie

In Laois, rents were on average 15.9% higher in the final three months of 2016 than a year previously. The average advertised rent is now €746, up 48% from its lowest point. Rents have risen sharply in Portlaoise and Portarlington which are the county's two big commuter towns.