Cap on rents in Cork and Dublin from next week

Rents will be capped in Dublin and Cork City from next week while other cities and commuter counties around the capital may be designated as ‘rent pressure zones’ from next year.

Crunch talks between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil concluded yesterday with the latter agreeing to allow the Government’s rent control measures to pass through the Dáil.

Rent rises will be capped in four Dublin areas and Cork City, possibly by next week, when measures go through the Seanad and are signed by the President.

Areas around Cork City, Meath, Kildare, Louth, and Wicklow, will be prioritised to be assessed as rent pressure zones, as will the cities of Galway, Limerick, and Waterford.

Fine Gael officials yesterday viewed the agreement as a significant victory for Housing Minister Simon Coveney. At one stage on Wednesday he and Taoiseach Enda Kenny had threatened to withdraw the rent predictability measures altogether unless Fianna Fáil supported them.

Face-to-face talks between Mr Coveney and Barry Cowen, Fianna Fáil’s housing spokesman, broke down that night while debate on the issue in the Dáil was stalled yesterday.

Following further talks, which saw Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin intervene and meet with Mr Coveney, a deal was agreed.

Simon Coveney
Simon Coveney

It was agreed the Government would ensure the Residential Tenancies Board assesses other areas as rent pressure zones in the New Year. Fianna Fáil had been pushing for extra areas to be immediately designated.

Rents rises will now be capped at 4% a year over three years up until 2019 in zones that meet two criteria: Where annual rents rose at least 7% in four of the last six quarters; and where rent increases have been above the national average.

Speaking in the Dáil after the deal was agreed, Mr Coveney confirmed he would prioritise other areas for assessment but they would have to meet criteria. He said he could be in a position when the Residential Tenancies Board data comes back to make a decision on some areas by mid-January.

Mr Cowen, in a statement, said his party had “not achieved everything” it sought, but as a result of its intervention, there will now be an immediate examination of eight other areas: “Our research suggests that this will benefit 150,000 households in the first instance and a further 100,000 from next month.”

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