Rent pressure zones were introduced under the Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Act 2016 and were intended to moderate increases in rent for tenants.
Currently, in Cork, there are a number of areas that are included in the rent pressure zones being Cork city itself, Ballincollig – Carrigaline and Cobh. Other towns such as Midleton, Youghal and Fermoy for example are not currently classed as rent pressure zones despite the large increases in rent in these towns.
For a town or area to be included in a rent pressure zone, two criteria must be met;
1. Rents must have increased by more than 7% in four of the last six quarters
2. Average rents in the last quarter must be above the national average as measured by the National Indicative Rent in the RTB’s Rent Index Report
The most recent RTB Index Rent Report which is for Q1 2018 put average national rents at €1,060 which was a 7.1% increase year on year and a 0.4% increase from the previous quarter.
In comparison, the following averages were given for Q1 2018 for the Cork based areas;
Cork City rents were listed at €1,075
Ballincollig – Carriagaline at €1,251,
Cobh at €1,074
The greater East Cork LEA area was lower at €892.
Thus whilst rents may have jumped in successive quarters in areas outside current rent pressure zones, they can still fail the criteria for inclusion as rents are listed as below the national average.
For areas in and around Cork City already included under the rent pressure zones, rent increases for existing tenants are limited to a maximum 4% a year. Landlords must still show show three comparable rents when writing to tenants and the proposed rent must be in line with local market rates when seeking a rent review.
The formulae devised to calculate rent increases in a rent pressure zone is as follows;
R x (1 + 0.04 x t/m)
calculations should be done working from right to left
R= The amount of rent last set under a tenancy for the dwelling (the current rent amount)
t = The number of months between the date the current rent came in to effect and the date the new rent amount will come in to effect.
m = you must enter 24 OR 12
The RTB website has a fairly comprehensive information section on rent pressure zones and the minutiae along with a calculator whereby you simply input the information to determine the potential increase in rent.
The PRTB rent indices and reports can be accessed here and make for interesting reading for anybody seeking up to date information on Irish property rental trends.
The most recent daft.ie rental report isn’t going to make pretty reading for those seeking rental accommodation at the moment. Rents have continued to increase for all types of residential property with rents increasing by 11.3% nationally.
On a more local basis, Cork County rents increased by 10.6% year on year with the average rent being €862. Cork city rents on the other hand increased by 9.3% year on year with the average rent recorded as being €1,210.
The tight squeeze on supply is continuing with just 700 properties available to rent across Munster in April 2018 which included all of the major cities – Cork, Limerick and Waterford.
Will the rental squeeze continue? Unfortunately yes. Until supply starts to pick up, the current shortage of rental accommodation is going to keep prices inflated. More houses and more apartments need to be built to ease the supply squeeze and the lead in times are obviously lengthy when planning permission and build times are factored in.
To read the full Q1 2018 Daft.ie rental report, click here.
Yet more reforms of the Irish rental market are on the way. Recent announcements by the government aim to introduce a series of amendments to the Residential Tenancies Act being known as the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 2018.
The act basically aims to increase the notice periods that landlords serve on tenants to vacate a property and also wants to introduce a publicly available rent register.
It also increases fines from €3,000 to €15,000 for those breaching the act.
Regarding the proposed rent register, it allows for the rent paid by the previous tenant of a property to be made available to a new tenant of that property. Suggestions since then have said the register may only show averages for an area out of concerns for data privacy but if the publicly available property price register can show an address and price for a property, we’re not sure why a rental price register can’t.
Notice periods are also set to increase, in some cases, substantially. Currently, a landlord serving notice on a tenant to vacate must provide 35 days notice if the tenancy is between 6 months and one year. This would increase to 90 days or approximately 3 months under the amendments.
The exact notice periods proposed under the act are shown in the table below along with the current notice periods;
Termination by Landlord
It’s interesting to note that the proposed increased notice periods only apply to landlord’s serving notice on tenants and not visa versa.
Of course, maybe a more continental style of renting would do wonders for the Irish rental market, making multi-year leases the norm instead of the exception leading to some sort of certainty for landlord and tenant alike. There has also been talk of further reform of the rental sector such as limiting deposits to one month’s rent however current one month deposits are often insufficient to cover rent arrears and damages given that it takes a minimum of 42 days to serve the required notices and more by the time PRTB adjudication takes place.
But all this misses the core point which is that the chronic housing shortage of recent years has been left fester, leading to price inflation in both the residential and rental sectors. Until sufficient housing is available, the current situation will unfortunately continue.
New standards for rented accommodation have come into force since the 01st July,2017.
This further updates the previous revision of 2009 and so Landlords should be aware of their obligations under these regulations.
Known as the Housing Standards for Rented House Regulations 2017,many of the regulations are straightforward and involve common sense but in brief, some of the particular standards are:
– The property should be in a “proper state of structural repair” – no dampness whilst the roof, floors, ceiling, walls and stairs should be in good repair.
– A bathroom should be equipped with bath or shower whilst hot and cold water should be available in the house.
– Every room used for habitation should have an appliance capable of providing heat.
– Every room should have a suitable means of ventiliation to remove fumes and / or vapour.
– The property should be provided with:
4 ring hob with oven & grill
Hot & cold water
Food presses for storage
Washing machine or access to a washing machine.
Where there are no external facilities for drying clothes, a dryer should be provided.
All the above appliances are the responsibility of the Landlord to maintain or repair.
– In terms of fire safety, the following apply:
The House should contain a fire blanket and either a mains-wired smoke alarm or at least two 10 year self-contained battery operated smoke alarms.
In the case of a multi unit building (eg an apartment block), there should be a mains wired smoke alarm, fire blanket & evacuation plan provided. In addition, emergency lighting linked to the fire alarm system should be provided in common areas.
The property should have access to adequate pest and vermin proof refuse storage facilities.
Updates to the regulations in 2017 also introduced the need for carbon monoxide alarms;
“Each house shall contain,where necessary,suitably located devices for the detection and alarm of carbon monoxide”
It also specified safety features on upstairs windows;
“Where a window has an opening section through which a person may fall,and the bottom of the opening section is more than 1400mm above external ground level, suitable safety restrictors shall be fitted. Safety restrictors shall restrain the window sufficiently to prevent such falls”
For a full look at the Housing Standards for Rented Houses regulations 2017, you can see it full here