Rent legislation must be enforced to protect sitting and prospective tenants – Threshold
22 August 2017
The introduction of a mandatory rent register would go some way to creating a more transparent system for renters. That is according to national housing charity, Threshold, commenting on the latest Daft.ie rental price report. The research, which covers the second quarter of 2017, indicates an 11.8 per cent change year-on-year in the average asking rent nationally, and an all-time low in the level of properties available to rent.
Commenting, CEO of Threshold, John-Mark McCafferty said: “Once again the Daft.ie report confirms that pressure in the private rented sector continues to grow. We urgently need to increase the supply of affordable homes for low- to middle-income tenants, including students, many of whom will be entering the rental market for the first time this month.
“However, we also need to ensure that measures already in place to protect tenants are enforced. Rent certainty is hugely important, both for sitting tenants and prospective tenants trying to budget for accommodation – we are calling for the Residential Tenancies Board rent index to be publicly available and searchable, as part of a number of actions to strengthen the Rent Pressure Zone legislation.
“Under the RPZ law, a new tenant can only be charged 4 per cent more than a previous tenant and the landlord must explain in writing to a new tenant the calculations behind the rent, as it relates to the RPZ formula. This legislation gives sitting tenants and those searching for accommodation equal rights. However, we are aware that this is being flouted by some landlords. A lack of enforcement is affecting both those searching for accommodation, as well as sitting tenants.”
In a move to eliminate such activity, Threshold is calling for greater awareness about tenants’ rights and landlords’ obligations under the legislation.
Chair of Threshold, Dr Aideen Hayden added: “Many tenants are desperate, and those who can afford the asking rent are prepared to pay without many questions, to get a roof over their heads. With such a shortage of supply, if legislation is not enforced, rents can only but go up in the face of such desperation, and this is a very poor vista for low- and middle-income earners.”
“The current legislation doesn't oblige a landlord to state the rent the last tenant paid when they are checking out a property. A measure such as an RTB-managed rent register, recording every change of rent, would benefit all, as it would hold landlords to account and arm tenants with the details they need to make an informed choice.”
The Daft Report shows that there were fewer than 3,000 properties to rent nationwide on 1st August – a 20 per cent decrease on the same date in 2016. Dublin rents rose by 12.3% year-on-year.
Threshold wishes to acknowledge the funding support of the Scheme to Support National Organisations 2016-2019 and the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government.