With all the rises and falls in the cost of living, and in particular house prices in recent years, it is no surprise that attention consistently turns towards rental costs. Recently, it was announced that there would be an overhauling of the rules on renting in The Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill. These new measures are designed to give tenants as well as landlords a greater degree of security about their immediate futures. The rental sector has been an increasingly volatile and unstable one for a number of years and it is hoped that these measures will bring some stability.
Alan Kelly, Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government announced a series of reforms to the private rental sector in Ireland this month. The main change here will be that the rent review period is to be increased from one to two years, this provides tenants with more security in terms of rent increases as rent cannot increase each year. As a result, anyone who has had their rent increased in 2015 will not have another rent review until 2017.
Minister Kelly was quoted on these changes as saying:
“Long-term renting will become an option for more and more people and the regulatory environment has to catch up with this. People in rented accommodation need greater security and these measures will provide that.”
As well as the change in the rental review period, landlords will be required to notify tenants if their rent is due for review, which Minister Kelly has said will again provide more security to the sector.
“Now that there will be a legal obligation on landlords to notify tenants as to how to dispute excessive rent increases, tenants will now be more empowered and landlords have a disincentive to aim for the highest rent possible – as they could face a dispute which will delay their rents.”
There have been reports of landlords increasing their rents in the months before these measures are brought into effect, reports which have been corroborated by studies which show the steepest rent increases since the financial downturn in the three months prior.
Another new rule announced as part of this bill is a deposit protection scheme wherein deposits are lodged with the Private Residential Tenancies Board as opposed to the landlord themselves. Landlords will also be required to provide greater evidence that their proposed increases are in line with local market rates. There will also be greater protection for the termination of tenancy with landlords being required to provide a statutory declaration if they intend to terminate a tenancy in order to allow a family member use the property.
Whilst these new measures have been met with some hesitation from landlords, there are also some measures announced which are designed to protect the landlords themselves. New procedures will see that rent arrears and terminations will be dealt with in the District Court as opposed to the costly proceeding in the Circuit Court. Finally, landlords who rent to those receiving rent allowance etc. will now be permitted to avail of 100% mortgage interest relief on their borrowings once they commit to accommodating tenants availing of relief for a minimum of three years.
If you are a tenant or landlord and are unsure of where you stand financially in the coming months, please don’t hesitate to contact us here at DCA Accountants where we will be delighted to assist you.
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