Simon Coveney speaking to the media in Limerick Picture: Alan Place
MINISTER for Housing Simon Coveney has said restrictions on rental increases in Limerick are likely to be introduced by the summer.
Speaking exclusively to the Limerick Leader, Mr Coveney said the city is “very close” to qualifying to be included in the Rent Pressure Zones (RPZ).
This will mean annual rent increases will be limited to a maximum amount of four per cent annually, bringing some much relief to struggling tenants.
The RPZs are already in place in 14 locations including parts of Dublin, Galway and Cork, plus a number of other smaller towns across the state.
There was surprise when Limerick was not added – but Mr Coveney says it is likely the city will be added come the time of the next review this summer.
“There is a reasonably good chance that the next time, Limerick probably will be in the Rent Pressure Zones,” he said.
“The two criteria for Rent Pressure Zones are that rents have to be above the national average, and before the last quarter, rents have to be increasing more than 7% annually. Limerick at the moment, is at 99% of the national average in terms of rent. Once it moves above 100%, it is lilkely to qualify,” he said.
Labour party housing spokesperson, local TD Jan O’Sullivan cautiously welcomed Mr Coveney’s comments.
But she warned that only certain areas may feel the benefit.
“We’re not sure all of Limerick would come in, as it’s done on the basis of electoral areas. It depends how much of a rural area is in a local electoral area, and whether rents there are lower than in the urban realms,” she explained.
“It’s not a perfect system,” Ms O’Sullivan added, “It would be better to have a system like where they have in other countries to link rent increases to the cost of living to give people long-term security in terms of knowing they will be able to afford their rent.”
The Limerick City TD also called on local landlords not to up their rents in anticipation of Limerick being included in the RPZ.
“We need to be careful because if people believe it’s coming, i’d be concerned rents would go up. We need to be conscious of this, and call on landlords not to anticipate anything as we’re not sure what’s going to happen,” she concluded.