To ask the Minister for Housing; Planning and Local Government his plans to extend rent pressure zone designation periods beyond three years; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Last December, I published the Residential Tenancies (Amendment)(No. 2) Bill 2018 to deliver on a number of commitments flowing from Rebuilding Ireland and the commitments that I made to provide the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) with additional powers and resources to deliver enhanced protections to both tenants and landlords.
The Government has given priority to the legal drafting and passage of this Bill through the Houses of the Oireachtas. On 2 April 2019, the Government approved proposals I brought forward for significant Committee Stage amendments to the Bill, including a provision that the operation of existing Rent Pressure Zones (RPZs) will now extend to 31 December 2021, supporting the continued restrictions on rent increases in the areas concerned.
The key measures and reforms in the Bill are designed to enhance the enforcement powers and data capacity for the RTB, provide greater security of tenure for tenants and further underpin the operation of the Rent Pressure Zone (RPZ) arrangements. Specifically in relation to RPZs, the Bill provides powers for the RTB to investigate and sanction landlords who fail to comply with the 4% rent increase restriction and the exemptions from the 4% restriction will be revised so as to apply only to the first rent setting, rather than every rent setting, of a new rental property. In addition, revisions are being proposed to give wider scope to the application of Rent Pressure Zones.
A fundamental principle of the Bill is to secure stability and confidence in the rental sector and its economic viability, and to safeguard and balance the rights of both tenants and landlords, while enhancing the effectiveness of the Residential Tenancies Acts as a whole. As the Deputy will be aware, the Bill is scheduled for Dáil Committee stage debate later this week and I look forward to constructive discussions with the Deputy and other members of the Committee in that context.
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