Two more commuter towns added to list of Rent Pressure Zones as costs soar
Two more commuter towns have been designated rent pressure zones as the average nat- ional cost of rent rose by 6.6pc.
Greystones in Co Wicklow and Drogheda in Co Louth have now been given the status, which means landlords there cannot raise rents by more than 4pc a year. This brings to 21 the number of rent pressure zones in the State.
The Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) said the national average rent stood at €1,017 per month in June, up €63 from the same month last year.
Rental prices in Dublin grew by 3.3pc or €49 in the second three months of this year. The average cost now of renting an apartment in the capital is €1,475 a month - 14pc higher than the at peak of the housing boom at the end of 2007.
The cost of rent in the capital has increased by almost €400 in the past four years.
Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy has promised to take on landlords who are trying to get around rules limiting rent rises.
The pace of rental growth accelerated in the second three months of the year.
The RTB said rents rose 2.9pc in the April to June period, compared with a rise of 0.4pc in the first three months of the year.
The figures are based on new tenancy agreements. There were even stronger rises in Dublin.
There is concern in the RTB that some landlords are ignoring the rules restricting rent rises to 4pc in rent pressure zones.
Mr Murphy said some landlords may be seeking to "get around" the rules by carrying out refurbishment works.
"Anecdotal evidence, which seems to be borne out by some of the data returns, is that the rent pressure zone legislation is not being complied with by some landlords, who are looking to get around the increase limits imposed, for example, by using the refurbishment exemption to charge higher rents or reset the market rent," he said.
He is instructing his department and the RTB to formulate a definition of what constitutes "substantial refurbishment" of a dwelling.
"We're still learning and understanding how it's working," he said of the new laws.
He said that, at one stage last year, rents were rising in Dublin by about 8.5pc - therefore there had been "a big improvement", even if costs were still going up.