Threshold: Rent pressure zones not being enforced

Threshold: Rent pressure zones not being enforced
Edel Conlon, southern regional manager, Threshold, and Conor Lynch, assistant manager, Threshold, outside the Cork office at South Mall. Picture: Denis Minihane.

RENT pressure zones are not being properly enforced, housing charity Threshold has insisted.

The urban zones, which were brought in by then Housing Minister Simon Coveney in 2016 and added to in 2017, cap the level of rent increases in a specific area to 4%. Cork city and surrounding suburbs were included in the caps, but rents continue to rise beyond the 4% per year, with house-hunting website saying rents rose by 7% in the city in the last 12 months.

Edel Conlon, the Cork-based regional manager of Threshold, said the rent pressure zone initiative has been helpful, but the legislation is not regulated and it is left to tenants to ensure the legal requirements of the landlord are met.

“There are certain criteria that are not being regulated, for example when a person moves into a property in a rent pressure zone, they should be handed a letter to state what the rent was previously to prove it has not exceeded the 4%. From our experience, that is not being done. I don’t think we have ever seen one of those documents come to us,” said Ms Conlon.

“Tenants are going into a property not knowing what the previous rent was when they are entitled to do so and probably paying a rent above the 4% in some cases.”

In many cases, landlords may not even be aware of this requirement.

“However, they have an obligation to keep up to date with legislation also,” said Ms Conlon.

“More resources could be put into informing landlords of this requirement and other requirements under the legislation also.”

Despite the flaws in the system, Ms Conlon said that the legislation had been a positive addition to the housing crisis problem and just needed to be tweaked.

“The rent pressure zone was brought in at a time where rents were rocketing. It has helped in some situations, there is no doubt about that.”

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