How to deal with rent increases
The moratorium on rent increases, which were in place from Friday 27th March to 1st August 2020 has ended and rent reviews, in general, can now take place again under the normal rules.
An exception to the lifting of protection is if, during the period from 9th March 2020 to 10th January 2021, you are or have been affected by COVID-19 and previously received, are currently in receipt of or otherwise entitled to financial support such as the Pandemic Unemployment Payment(PUP), wage subsidy, rent supplement due to COVID-19 and your tenancy is at risk due to rent arrears. If this is the case there are specific additional protections that may cover you until 10th January 2021 so contact us on 1800 454 454 to find out if this applies to you.
Rent Pressure Zones (RPZ)
From 24th December 2016 specific areas have been designated as rent pressure zones or RPZs and these have been extended to 2021. You can find out if you are renting in a designated 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. To check if your rent increase is correct, use the RTB calculator by clicking here.
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 report this to the Investigation and Sanctions Unit of the RTB by clicking here.
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 or hasn't been rented out in the previous two years the RPZ rules will not apply for the initial setting of the rent but will for all subsequent reviews. Also the 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 to include:
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 along with any suppporting documentation within one month of the setting of the new rent.
It is important to know that bringing a property up to minimium standards does not qualify for an exemption.
Renting Outside of a Rent Pressure Zone
If you are renting outside a RPZ the rules have also been extended until 20201. Whilst there is no percentage increase on how much your rent can be increased by like in a 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