By Darragh Bermingham
Housing charity Threshold is advising tenants that some landlords in Cork are using the excuse of ‘substantial renovations’ to initiate evictions from rental properties in the city.
Some landlords are claiming they need to carry out renovations, which allows them to terminate tenancy agreements, so they can then raise rents for new tenants, according to Threshold.
The charity has called on Housing Minister, Eoghan Murphy, to put a timeline on the introduction of a legal definition for ‘substantial renovations’, which they say is being used by some landlords as a reason to terminate tenancies or to increase rents beyond the limits imposed by the Rent Pressure Zones (RPZ) legislation.
The legislation was introduced to limit rent increases to 4% a year in high-demand areas across the country, including Cork city, but some landlords are circumventing the laws by claiming they need to end tenancies to carry out renovations.
Threshold has said they are aware of a proposed mass eviction at a large rental property in Cork but have not confirmed the exact location of the property as yet.
Threshold chairperson, Dr Aideen Hayden, said the rent certainty laws are being flouted by some landlords.
“Minister Murphy committed in September to the development of a definition of what constitutes ‘substantial refurbishment’ of a Dwelling.
“For every household that benefits from the rent certainty measures, contacts from our clients are showing that some landlords are finding ways to circumvent the legislation,” said Dr Hayden.
“We once again call on the Government to introduce a publicly accessible rent register, along the lines of the Property Price Register.
“This would provide potential and sitting tenants with the details they need to make informed choices or to challenge illegal rent increases at the Residential Tenancies Board,” she added.
“In this competitive market with such limited supply, tenants are hesitant to challenge rent increases at the RTB for fear of a relationship breakdown with the landlord.”
This story first appeared in today's Evening Echo.