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06 Dec 2021

Government attempts to tackle rent rises in Laois and other counties by lowering cap

New limit in rent pressure zones

rent

Average rents surge past €1,000 a month this year in Laois despite supposed protection of rent caps covering most populated parts of the county

The Government has has lowered the cap on rent increases in rent pressure zones (RPZ) in Laois and other counties to 2 per cent.

An RPZ  is a designated area where rents cannot be increased by more than general inflation which applies to new and existing tenancies unless an exemption is being applied.

The original cap rent pressure zones was 4%. This was then adjusted to the rate of inflation in Ireland. However, the current rate of inflation is now nearly 4%

The new annual cap will only operate when general inflation is higher than 2 per cent with the Government saying the measure will "result in far lower rent increases for tenants".

RPZs are located in parts of the country where rents are highest and rising and where households have the greatest difficulty finding affordable accommodation.

There are two rent pressure zones in Laois  - the Portlaoise Municipal District (includes Abbeyleix) and the Portarlington Graiguecullen Municipal District (includes Stradbally). 

The latest Rental Tenancies Board Board quarterly Rent Index for the April to June period (Q2) of 2021 found that the average cost of renting in Laois has risen above €1,000 a month to €1,014.98. This contrasts with €917.47 charged to rent a home in Laois for the same time in 2020. The rise marks a 10.6% increase. This is above the 7% year-on-year average rise across Ireland.

The RTB found that rents went up in all three areas of Laois by an average greater than 7%.

The large rises in Laois were common in other counties. The RTB said this year that they may "indicate an unacceptable level of non-compliance by landlords with rent setting regulations restricting rent increases in Rent Pressure Zone areas (RPZ).

Minister for Housing Darrah O'Brien said of the new lower cap.

"In addition to significantly reducing the level of rent increases in RPZs, the Bill will also address long-term security of tenure by introducing tenancies of indefinite duration. This was a key commitment in Housing for All, our new housing Plan for Ireland.

"This Government is fully committed to improving the situation for renters in Ireland and we are making strides in this regard," he added.

Key provisions of the measure are to form part of the Residential Tenancies Bill to be published this month, with the cap to apply immediately from enactment.

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