How to deal with rent increases
Please note that the law in relation to rent increases has been amended temporarily to protect tenants during the COVID-19 crisis. From Friday 27th March 2020 your landlord cannot increase your rent during a three month emergency period until the end of June. If you are facing rent increase during this time contact Threshold immediately for advice. Click here for more on the new measures covering rent inceases and notices of termination.
Rent Pressure Zones (RPZ)
From 24th December 2016 specific areas have been designated as rent pressure zones or RPZs and these have recently been extended to 2021. You can find out if you are renting in a RPZ by clicking here.
If you are renting in a rent pressure zone, then your landlord can only seek a rent increase of up to 4% per annum.
The RPZ rules apply if you are moving into tenancy which is located within a rent pressure zone. In this case, upon commencement of the tenancy, the landlord is required to give you written information outlining the amount of rent and date it was last set under a tenancy for the dwelling and a statement as to how the rent set under the tenancy of the dwelling has been calculated having regard to the rent pressure zone formula. If you don't get this the landlord is in breach and you can take further action through the RTB.
Opposite you will find a letter Tenant Rent Info which you can download and use to inform a new tenant that moves into the property you were previously renting of the amount of rent you were paying when you left.
Where a property has been let for the first time the RPZ rules will not apply for the initial setting of the rent but will for subsequent reviews.
RPZ rules will not apply where there has been a substantial change in the nature of the accommodation. This has been given a statutory definition including:
Either a permanent extension increasing the floor area by 25% or
An increase in the BER rating by 7 or at least three of the following
- a permanent change in the layout
- adaption for person with a disability
- permanent increase in the number of rooms
- increase of BER rating of 3 or more for ratings D1 or lower or increase of BER rating of 2 or more for ratings C3 or higher
A landlord seeking to rely upon this exemption must inform the RTB in writing of this with any suppporting documentation. within one month of the setting of the new rent. Bringing a property up to minmium standards does not qualify for an exemption.
Renting Outside of a Rent Pressure Zone
Ihe rules for renting in an area outside of an RPZ have also been extended to 2021. If you live outside of an RPZ your landlord cannot charge more than 'market rent' when seeking a rent review and it must be at least 24 months from the date of your last review-this is the notification that you received of a rent review and not the date you started paying the new rent.
Following the expiry of the 24-month period your landlord/agent must give at least 90 days written notice of the amount of the new rent and date it is to take effect from. The notice must be in writing, email, text or verbal notice are not valid and it cannot be given before the expiry of the 24-month period.
To determine 'market rent' you can check a number of sources including the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) Rent Index www.rtb.ie, property websites, property agents, to let ads in newspapers etc. Threshold advises that you try to negotiate with your landlord around the increase and you can download the top tips for doing this opposite.
You must be given at least three comparable rents of similar properties in your area which have been advertised in the previous four weeks to your review.
The written review must also advise you that if you wish to dispute the review you can refer a case to the RTB. You now have to do this within 90 days of receipt of the notice or before the date when the review is to take effect, whichever is later.
If you wish to challenge a valid notice of rent review you should continue paying the current rent until the RTB issue a Determination Order. It is important to note that the RTB may accept the proposed review and the increase may be backdated.
If you decide not to challenge the increase and give notice to leave it is important to note that you will be liable to pay the new rent from its commencement date and if you fail to do so the landlord may seek to make deductions from, or retain your deposit to cover the lost rent.
If you are in receipt of rent supplement and facing a rent increase, the Tenancy Protection Service may be able to help you apply for an enhanced payment click here for more information.
What to do
- Check the notice to see if it is valid comparing to the template which you can download opposite.
- Check the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) rent index to see the market rent for your property by comparing rents being charged for similar properties in the area.
- If you think that the proposed rent is above market rent, try to negotiate with your landlord/agent
- Go to the RTB Rent Calculator to see how much your rent can increase by in a Rent Pressure Zone.
- If your landlord refuses or an agreement cannot be reached you can refer the matter to the RTB up to 90 days from receipt of the rent review notice.
- If your tenancy is at risk and you face homelessness as a result of a proposed rent review contact your nearest Threshold advice centre immediately