Fianna Fáil: Higher rents if work carried out to improve property

Fianna Fáil would be willing to let landlords rise rents by up to 5% if they could show they carried out significant improvements to a property.

Although the Government had proposed a 4% limit on rent hikes in areas where rents have soared out of control, Fianna Fáil claimed this was too high and wanted it reduced to a cap of 2%.

But in proposed amendments to the Planning and Development (Housing and Residential Tenancies) Bill 2016, Fianna Fáil argued that in some circumstances, landlords should be allowed to increase rents further.

Housing Minister Simon Coveney held talks with Fianna Fáil housing spokesman Barry Cowen last night in a bid to get support for his proposals to have them passed before the Dáil plans to rise for Christmas today.

Mr Cowen submitted a list of proposed amendments before the lunchtime deadline yesterday. Among them was an amendment to have the number of rent pressure zones increased. The Government had identified Cork and Dublin as so-called “rent pressure zones” due to the unsustainable increases.

Fianna Fáil had requested that Galway City, Waterford City, Limerick City, and the commuter belts around Cork and Dublin also be included.

Perhaps one of the most contentious issues for the party is the decision to place an annual cap of 4% on rent increases in areas where rents have spiralled. Mr Cowen had argued this rise should be capped at 2%.

However, if landlords can prove that they have made substantial changes and improvements, they could rise rents by as much as 5%. This was in contrast to the Government bill which exempted landlords who carried out significant improvements from the cap.

“The Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) will produce and publish a classified list of defined substantial changes in the nature of the accommodation provided under the tenancy,” the amendment read. It said the RTB would set the different levels of increases. The amendment said the rises, on top of the 2%, would be set a between 0.002% and 3% depending on the substantial change classification.

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