Housing Minister Simon Coveney last night announced a new wave of rent pressure zones (RPZs), which will see rate rises capped at 4% in 23 new areas.
The Government introduced measures to slow rent inflation in Cork city and all of Dublin late last year, but promised to review other areas. A housing agency review of 15 electoral areas was then assessed by the residential tenancies board.
RPZ designations are subject to strict criteria. New zones must have seen rent inflation of 7% or more in four of the last six quarters, while in the last quarter it must be above the average national rate.
Mr Coveney approved the new areas yesterday after the reviews, saying this would mean up to half of tenancies in the country would now be covered by the rent rules.
New areas with rent caps from today include Douglas, Ballincollig, and Carrigaline in Cork, as well as all of Galway City. Areas and towns around Dublin designated include Naas, Celbridge, Leixlip, and Newbridge in Kildare, as well as Slane, Julianstown, Ashbourne, and Dunshaughlin in Meath. Bray and Enniskerry in Wicklow are also included.
The minister said there would be ongoing assessment of areas that had failed to make the list.
However, there will be questions about cities and large towns that were left out. These include Limerick and Waterford, areas of Louth, including Drogheda and Dundalk, the Cork areas of Glanmire and Cobh, and Greystones, Co Wicklow. The student town of Maynooth in Kildare also did not meet the RPZ criteria.
Former Minister and Labour TD Jan O’Sullivan last night criticised the Government for leaving the cities of Waterford and her own native Limerick off the list.
She reiterated the criteria to qualify for the 4% rent cap was “too restrictive”.
“This is disastrous for tenants who are already struggling to pay and now face rises they can’t afford. Linking rent increases to the consumer price index, as the Labour Party has proposed, would have been a much fairer way to go.”
But Fianna Fáil, who had pushed for the list of zones to be extended, welcomed the new areas. Housing spokesman Barry Cowen said a “close eye” would be kept on other areas going forward.
The new zones come after a Simon Community report yesterday said the gap between rents and housing payments for people on social welfare is widening. Top-ups, allowing payments above certain limits, helped, but were no basis for long-term policy, it said.
Douglas; Ballincollig; Carrigaline; Passage West.
Naas; Sallins; Celbridge; Leixlip; Rathangan; Kildare; Newbridge.
Slane; Julianstown; Duleek; Laytown; Bettystown; Ashbourne; Dunboyne; Dunshaughlin; Ratoath.
Bray; Enniskerry; Wicklow.
Central; East; West.