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. 

 

How do I review the rent in a Rent Pressure Zone (RPZ)?

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.  Please click here for a list of all RPZ designation dates

Following the designation of a Rent Pressure Zone, all existing tenancies 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.   

In order for a rent review to be valid, landlords must give tenants at least 90 days’ notice and use the prescribed Notice of Rent Review Form to serve it on the tenant. The rent cannot be increased by more than inflation (as outlined in the Rent Pressure Zone Calculator which uses HICP values). There is now a new condition that provides that the rent previously set, cannot increase by more than 2% per year pro rata, where HICP inflation is higher. The rent being sought should not be more than local market rents for similar properties. Landlords are strongly advised to serve the notice of rent review on the tenant on the same day as they use the Rent Pressure Zone calculator to avoid any potential invalidation of their rent review, as calculations can vary from day-to-day in line with any change in HICP values. The calculator can be found here.   

After an initial rent review, the landlord will be entitled to review the rent every 12 months. Irrespective of the calculation made, there is no obligation on a landlord to increase the current rent amount and there is no legal obstacle to a rent reduction.  The Rent Pressure Zone calculator will permit landlords to print off the calculations with a date and time stamp included. Calculations should be confirmed and verified on the same date that the notice of rent review is served on the tenant.  These new HICP rent setting rules and the use of the RTB Rent pressure Zone calculator apply to all private rented tenancies including tenancies and licences in Student Specific Accommodation (SSA).   

Please click here to see the table of HICP values that the RTB maintains and publishes.  

 

Rent Reviews for new Tenancies in Rent Pressure Zones 

For tenancies that begin after an area is designated as a Rent Pressure Zone, the rent can be reviewed each year but cannot be increased by more than inflation, as outlined in the RTB RPZ Calculator which uses HICP values. 

There is now a condition that provides that the rent previously set, cannot increase by more than 2% per year pro rata, where HICP inflation is higher. The rent amount being set should not be more than that of local market rents for similar properties.   

In order for a rent review to be valid, landlords must give tenants at least 90 days’ notice and use the prescribed Rent Review Form to serve it on the tenant. Landlords are strongly advised to serve the notice of rent review on the tenant on the same day as they use the Rent Pressure Zone calculator to avoid any potential invalidation of their rent review, as calculations can vary from day-to-day in line with any change in HICP values.   

The calculator can be found here

Market Rent

Market rent is defined as a rent that a tenant, not already in occupation, would give willingly and a landlord would willingly take for the rented dwelling, having regard to other terms of the tenancy and the letting values of dwellings of a similar size, type and character to the dwelling and situated in a comparable area to that in which it is situated. 

The RTB also have a useful rent index that reflects the actual rents being paid, according to the RTB’s records, as distinct from the asking or advertised rent, which is the basis of other rent reports. These reports may also be useful to support your application and are available here on the RTB website.

Market comparables for setting rent and rent reviews

  • To set or review the rent a valid notice of rent review must be served accompanied by a statement by the landlord that it is their opinion that the new rent is not greater than market rent having regard to the other terms of the tenancy, letting values of dwellings of a similar size, type and character and situated in a comparable area.
  • It must include the rent amount for three comparable dwellings of a similar size, type and character and situated in a comparable area to establish market rent. It is important to note that a comparable area does not have to be in the same locality but can be in a different location e.g., a 3-bed property in one rural town can be compared with a 3-bed property in another rural town. 
  • Evidence of the rent charged for comparable properties can be in the form of advertisements for such properties published within the previous four weeks. If a tenant considers that they are being asked to pay more than the market rent, they can seek clarification from the landlord or submit an application for dispute resolution to the RTB within 28 days of receipt of receiving notice of rent review or before the increase takes effect.
  • If the landlord has served the tenant with a valid written notice of rent review, the tenant must submit an application to the RTB before the new rent is to have effect or before the expiry of the 90 days' notice from the date of receipt of that notice, whichever is later. Please note that tenants must continue to pay their rent at the existing rent for the tenancy until the case is determined unless both parties agree otherwise.
  • The use of comparable market rent in setting/ reviewing the rent does not apply to Approved Housing Bodies


Rent Review in a Rent Pressure Zone where Landlord is Relying on an Exemption 

It is important to remember that not all properties in RPZs are restricted by the rule that rent cannot be increased by more than general inflation, as recorded by the Harmonised Index of the Consumer Price (HICP), and there is now a new condition that provides that the rent previously set, cannot increase by more than 2% per year pro rata, where HICP inflation is higher. 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'. 

Detailed information on changes to the legislation surrounding exemptions can be found here

Exemption 1: The initial setting of the rent on a dwelling which had 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 HICP rules. 

Exemption 2: A dwelling which is, or is in, a protected or proposed protected structure that has not been rented for a period of 12 months prior to the immediate tenancy commencement date. All reviews thereafter must adhere to the RPZ HICP rules. 

Exemption 3: A 'substantial change' in the nature of the accommodation has been defined and will only be deemed to have taken place where strict criteria is met. 

All landlords must serve a notice of rent review ensuring that they follow the sample notice. The sample notice of rent review must be followed closely, and landlords should not deviate from the wording used therein, change the format of the notice, or delete information from same as doing so could invalidate the notice of rent review in full.  

Obligation on Landlords to Notify the RTB of their Reliance on an Exemption  

Landlords must inform the RTB that they are relying on an exemption which means that they do not have to adhere to the increase permitted by the Rent Pressure Zone calculator. Landlords must fill out an RPZ Exemption Form with all the correct relevant information and send it to the RTB within one month following the date when the new rent amount applies. We ask landlords to retain a copy of this for their records. The RTB will not acknowledge receipt of the form. 

The information required to ensure that you fill out the form in full correctly are: 

  • Registered Tenancy (RT) number  
  • Address of rented dwelling  
  • Tenancy commencement date (the date that the tenant is entitled to take up occupation of the dwelling)
  • Previous rent amount, if applicable.   
  • Date previous rent set, if applicable.  
  • New amount of rent being sought 
  • Date new rent is set 
  • You will then tick the appropriate exemption that applies to you. 
  • Landlords must provide documents that support the exemption relied upon. This may include for example, the old and new BER certificates or a letter of certification confirming the nature of any structural changes from an architect, chartered surveyor, chartered engineer and/or related planning permission.  

 

Dispute Resolution Services 

The RTB encourages tenants and landlords to discuss problems promptly, keep lines of communication open and respect each other’s positions. Where a notice of a rent review has been served by the landlord then either party can submit a dispute to the RTB before the new rent amount is due to commence or within 28 days of the tenant receiving the notice. If the problem cannot be resolved, registered landlords and all tenants can apply to the RTB for dispute resolution.       

Please click here for more information on the RTB's dispute resolution service.

Helpful Questions and Answers

You might wish to use the RTB Rent Pressure Zone Calculator to better understand the examples. 

Example 1 

A rented property is located in an RPZ. A tenant moved in on 11 December 2020 and a rent of €1,800 was set. The landlord is entitled to review the rent following 12 months from the tenancy commencement date and proceeds to enter the relevant details in to the RTB Rent Pressure Zone Calculator on 11 December 2021. The calculator informs the landlord that the maximum increase in rent permissible is €36. This is because the new rules that have been introduced state that rents cannot increase by more than 2% per year pro rata, where HICP inflation is higher. As the HICP inflation for the period of time between the rent first being set and then being set pursuant to the rent review is 5.2%, the 2% per year pro rata cap applies. The new maximum rent for the property is €1,836, which represents a 2% per annum pro rata increase (€1,800 x 2% p.a.)  

Example 2 

A rented property is located in an RPZ. A tenant moved in on 11 December 2016 and a rent of €1,400 per month was set.  Five years later, on 11 December 2021, the landlord decides to review the rent and proceeds to enter the relevant details in to the RTB Rent Pressure Zone Calculator.The calculator informs the landlord that the maximum increase in rent permissible is €92. This is because the new rules that have been introduced state that rents cannot increase by more than 2% per year  pro rata, where HICP inflation is higher. As the HICP inflation for the 5-year period between the rent first being set and reviewed is 6.6%, this applies as it is lower than the cap of 2% per year pro rata (2% per year for 5 years = 10%). The new maximum rent for the property is €1,492, which represents a 6.6% increase in accordance with HICP inflation (€1,400 x 6.6% = €92). 

It is important to remember that not all properties in Rent Pressure Zones are subject to the HICP inflation restrictions.

Exempt properties include:

  • Properties that have not been rented for a period of two years prior to the immediate tenancy commencement date;
  • A new tenancy in a protected structure that has not been let out in the previous 12 months; and
  • Properties 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: The dwelling which is, or is in, a protected or proposed protected structure that has not been rented for a period of 12 months prior to the immediate tenancy commencement date.
  • Exemption 3: 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,  

or  

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, 

or 

the internal layout of the dwelling being permanently altered; the dwelling being adapted to provide for access and use by a person with a disability, within the meaning of the Disability Act 2005;  a permanent increase in the number of rooms in the dwelling;   in the case of a dwelling to which the European Union (Energy Performance of Buildings) Regulations 2012 (S.I. No. 243 of 2012) apply and that has BER of D1 or lower; the BER (within the meaning of those Regulations) being improved by not less than 3 building energy ratings; or  in the case of a dwelling to which the European Union (Energy Performance of Buildings) Regulations 2012 (S.I. No 243 of 2012) apply and that has a BER of C3 or higher, the BER (within the meaning of those Regulations) being improved by not less than 2 building energy ratings. 

If a landlord meets the above criteria, they can be exempt from using the HICP rules when setting and reviewing the rent in an RPZ.  

If a landlord wants to rely on one of these exemptions, he or she must use the prescribed Notice of Exemption from RPZ Rent Restrictions, attach relevant supporting documentation to the form and send it to the RTB within one month of the rent setting taking place. We ask landlords to retain a copy of this for their records. The RTB will not acknowledge receipt of the form. 

For Approved Housing Bodies, the setting and reviewing of rent should be set out in the lease/ contract provided to the tenant at the start of the tenancy.

  • The timing of a rent review in an Approved Housing Body tenancy should be set out in the tenancy agreement. 
  • If the tenancy agreement does not refer to rent reviews, the rent can only be reviewed once every 12 months.
  • There is no set notice period for a rent review, but the law states that notice should be given 'as soon as is practicable'.

The use of comparable market rent in setting/ reviewing the rent does not apply to Approved Housing Bodies. 

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