RTB working with Department of Housing in relation to proposed legislation

Update 6pm: The Residential Tenancies Board says they are working with the Department of Housing in relation to the proposed legislation which is in its early stages.

The organisation currently employs 55 people and has one out-sourced contact management centre.

A spokesperson has confirmed the proposed legislation makes provision for new functions of the RTB, which, if passed, will require new resources to ensure the effective implementation of the measures.

Update 5.45pm: Landlords who evict tenants to carry out renovations and increase rents could be inspected under new laws

Landlords who evict tenants to carry out renovations and increase rents could soon be inspected under new legislation.

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy.

A new bill announced by the Housing Minister will make it a criminal offence for landlords to charge over 4% in rent pressure zones.

The Rental Tenancies act also includes a rent register which would publish average prices in certain areas.

Minister Eoghan Murphy says the bill will give the Residential Tenancies Board more power.

He said: "Are the renovations being made actual renovations?

"There is now an onus on the landlord to inform the RTB if it is doing renovations that would allow it to increase its rent to above 4%.

"Before it could just tell the tenant that is what it was doing but now it actually has to tell the RTB it is doing that and the RTB will have powers to go and inspect that."

Richard Boyd Barrett.

People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd-Barrett says the Housing Minister's proposals for new legislation are pointless and will not help tackle homelessness or improve conditions for renters.

He has warned we need real rent controls.

He said: "Rents are already completely unaffordable.

So limiting rent increases to 4% a year when they are unaffordable already is going to do nothing at all to stem the tide of homelessness or deal with the crisis of unaffordability.

"What we need is rents that are affordable and that means bringing them back down to levels that are affordable."

Update - 12.59pm: Housing Minister announces measure to prosecute landlords who breach rent pressure zone limit

Landlords who breach rent pressure zone caps will face criminal prosecution under new legislation.

The Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy has announced a new bill aimed at giving tenants more protection.

The Rental Tenancies Act will also introduce a rent register to keep prices down and will give the Residential Tenancies Board more power.

Minister Murphy outlined the main points of the bill.

Mr Murphy said: "It's going to make it a criminal offence for landlords to breach the rent pressure zone 4% limit.

"It is also going to give the Residential Tenancies Board independent powers now to pursue a complaint.

"Another thing it is going to do is introduce rent transparency into our rental market and the third thing it is going to do is give greater protection and greater security of tenure to people who are renting. [This means] longer notice periods that landlords have to give to them before they serve a notice to quit."

12.59pm: Housing charities want Cabinet to bring in rent transparency 'right down to the tenancy'

Cabinet ministers are to discuss the introduction of a rent register when they meet this morning.

The proposal would see the Residential Tenancies Board compile and publish the average price of rents in each area.

The move is aimed at making rent increases more transparent.

Housing charities say that the proposals are a step in the right direction.

It follows concerns that several landlords are increasing rents in pressure zones by more than 4%.

John Mark McCafferty from Threshold says he would like to see the measures go further.

Mr McCafferty said: "We are looking for rent transparency right down to the tenancy, if possible.

"Surely, if there are all sorts of other goods and services where we know that a given company or a given enterprise charges so much for a particular product, why not for rentals?"

A Government Housing report last week suggested apartment buildings should be at least six storeys in urban developments to reduce costs.

However, architect Mel Reynolds says higher homes will not bring down prices.

She said: "Simply that just doesn't happen. A site that has planning permission for 100 units is twice as valuable than a site that has planning permission for 50.

"Now that doesn't translate into cheaper units, it translates into higher site values, so the increase the value added from removing site caps just doesn't get passed on to purchasers."


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