A Rent Pressure Zone (RPZ) is a designated area where rents cannot be increased by more than 4% per annum. This applies to new and existing tenancies (unless an exemption is being applied).
Rent Pressure Zones are located in parts of the country where rents are highest and rising, and where households have the greatest difficulty finding affordable accommodation. They are intended to moderate the rise in rents in these areas and create a stable and sustainable rental market that allows landlord and tenants to plan financially for their future.
The RPZ Rent Calculator can be used to find out if a property is located in a Rent Pressure Zone by inputting the address or Eircode. It can also be used to calculate the maximum rent amount for the tenancy.
The following Local Authority areas and Local Electoral Areas have been designated as Rent Pressure Zones:
24th December 2016
Dublin City Council
South Dublin County Council
Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown County Council
Fingal County Council
Cork City Council
27th January 2017
Ballincollig – Carrigaline, Cork
Galway City Central
Galway City East
Galway City West
Naas, Co. Kildare
Newbridge, Co. Kildare
Celbridge-Leixlip, Co. Kildare
Ashbourne, Co. Meath
Laytown-Bettystown, Co. Meath
Ratoath, Co. Meath
Bray, Co. Wicklow
Wicklow, Co. Wicklow
24th March 2017
Maynooth, Co. Kildare
22nd September 2017
Greystones, Co Wicklow
Drogheda, Co. Louth
28th March 2019
Navan LEA, Co. Meath
Limerick City East, Co. Limerick
2nd July 2019
Macroom LEA, Co. Cork
Carlow LEA, Co. Carlow
18th December 2019
Cobh LEA, Co. Cork
Baltinglass LEA, Co. Wicklow
Piltown LEA, Co. Kilkenny
Sligo-Strandhill LEA, Co. Sligo
For an area to be designated a Rent Pressure Zone, the following measures used are:
In addition to the above criteria, from June 4th 2019, there are now three different standardized averages rents to be used when assessing an area:
With the introduction of the changed criteria, there may be more areas that now meet the qualifying criteria and may be designated as Rent Pressure Zones.
Landlords should note that if their tenancy was already in existence at the point of the area being designated, they remain under the current rent certainty measures (rent review once every 24 months) for the purpose of the next rent review.
Where a new tenancy commences in an RPZ, a landlord is required to set the rent in accordance with the RPZ formula, unless the property is exempt from rental restrictions. It is important to remember that a beginning a new tenancy does not mean completing a rent review and setting a new rent. A rent review in an RPZ can only be undertaken every 12 months.
In the case of a new tenancy in a Rent Pressure Zone, unless the property is exempt from the rental restrictions, a landlord is required to provide the tenant, in writing, with the following information at the beginning of the tenancy:
Additionally, the rent cannot be set above the local market rents for similar properties and three examples for similar properties in the locality, or a comparable area, must be presented to demonstrate this.
The RPZ Rent Calculator is a useful tool to assist landlords in supplying this information to the tenant before the tenancy is agreed and can be useful in helping to prevent disputes.
Landlords must ensure they familiarise themselves with Rent Pressure Zone designation dates as these will inform if the tenancy was in existence at the point of designation and the rent review rules that must be followed.
Following the designation of a Rent Pressure Zone, all existing tenants at the relevant date of designation are still covered by the 24 month rent certainty laws. Therefore, a landlord must wait 24 months from the tenancy commencing or 24 months from the service of the last rent review notice before serving a further rent review.
A tenant must be informed of any review to the rent with at least 90 days’ notice in writing (an email or text is not considered appropriate notice of a rent review) of a change in rent. These sample notices of rent review can be used to create a rent review notice.The rent cannot be increased by more than 4%, and the rent being sought should not be more than local market rents for similar properties. After an initial rent review, the landlord will be entitled to review the rent every 12 months.
For tenancies that begin after an area is designated as an RPZ, the rent can be reviewed each year but cannot be increased by more than 4%. The rent amount being set should not be more than that of local market rents for similar properties.
If a tenancy was already in existence at the time an area was designated an RPZ, the rent can only be reviewed 24 months after the tenancy came into existence, or 24 months after the date the rent was last set. When the next rent review is due, the RPZ formula can be applied to determine the rent increase. After this, the rent can be reviewed every 12 months.
It is important to remember that not all properties in Rent Pressure Zones are subject to the 4% restriction. Exempt properties include properties that have not been rented for a period of two years prior to the immediate tenancy commencement date, and those that have undergone a 'substantial change in the nature of the accommodation'.
The RPZ exemption rules and criteria:
Exemption 1: the initial setting of the rent on a dwelling which has not been rented for a period of two years prior to the immediate tenancy commencement date. All rent reviews thereafter must adhere to the RPZ formula.
Exemption 2: A 'substantial change' in the nature of the accommodation has been defined and will only be deemed to have taken place where the below criteria is met:
“the works carried out to the dwelling concerned -
consist of a permanent extension to the dwelling that increases the floor area (within the meaning of Article 6 of the Building Regulations 1997 (S.I. No. 497 of 1997)) of the dwelling by the amount equal to not less than 25% of the floor area (within such meaning) of the dwelling as it stood immediately before the commencement of those works,
in the case of a dwelling to which the European Union (Energy Performance of Buildings) Regulations 2012 (S.I. No. 243 of 2012) apply, result in the BER (within the meaning of those Regulations) being improved by not less than 7 building energy ratings,
The RPZ Rent Calculator is a useful tool to calculate the maximum allowable rent in a Rent Pressure Zone.
If a landlord is setting the rent in a Rent Pressure Zone, the amount cannot be a) greater than market rent, and b) greater than the amount determined by the formula below:
R x (1 + 0.04 x t/m)
For tenancies that began before the 24 December 2016, after a six-month probationary period, the tenant secures the right to remain in the property for a further three and a half years. This is known as a ‘Part 4 Tenancy’.
For tenancies that began after the 24 December 2016, security of tenure has increased, and after a six-month probationary period, the tenant secures the right to remain in the property for a further five and a half years.
A dispute in relation to rent setting or rent reviews can be submitted to the RTB. It is encouraged that disputes in relation to rent setting and rent reviews are made as soon as possible.
Where a notice of a rent review has been served by the landlord than either party can submit a dispute to the RTB before the new rent starts or within 28 days of the tenant receiving the notice.
Where an increase in the rent is found to be above 4% the landlord may be required to return the rent to the correct amount, and may also be required to pay damages to the tenant affected.