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Housing Minister says rents are 'too high' despite Rent Pressure Zones

Rent Pressure Zones, which are designated areas where rents cannot be increased by more than general inflation, currently cover 76pc of Ireland.
Housing Minister Darragh O'Brien

Housing Minister Darragh O'Brien

Neasa Cumiskey

The 2pc cap on rent increases may be extended nationwide as “rent is too high” across the country, the Housing Minister has said.

In July, the Cabinet approved new Rent Pressure Zone legislation stating that rent increases could not be higher than the general inflation recorded in the Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices (HICP).

However, after this law was passed, a swift rise in inflation forced the Government to implement a 2pc rent increase cap per year while general inflation rates remain higher than that.

Rent Pressure Zones, which are designated areas where rents cannot be increased by more than general inflation, currently cover 76pc of Ireland, and Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien has said that they could “potentially” be expanded soon.

“We are looking at those 24pc outside the Rent Pressure Zones and that has to be looked at because I think outside those RPZs, quarter on quarter, we are looking at about a 10pc increase and that is something I am looking at, at the moment,” he told Newstalk Breakfast.

“Potentially I do [see a national system of rent controls] but I am seeking legal advice on that and I have to operate, obviously, within the advice I get.”

Mr O’Brien said that the rental crisis has been caused by a lack of supply, promising that approximately 25,000 homes will be built next year.

“Rent is climbing and rent is too high and we have seen double digit increases outside the Rent Pressure Zones so that is something I am looking at right now,” he said.

“It is about supply and we have got to get supply up because we have seen the private rental market shrinking as well and that is a real issue.

“That is affecting rents and there is more people competing for single properties and that is a problem so, am I looking at other measures? Yes, I am.”


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