A Rent Pressure Zone (RPZ) is a designated area where rents cannot exceed general inflation, as recorded by Harmonised Index of the Consumer Price (HICP), or 2% per year pro rata, where HICP inflation is higher. 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.
Since 16th July 2021, the HICP values are being used to set and review rents in RPZs in Ireland. This means that rents in RPZs cannot be increased by more than general inflation.
From 11th December 2021, the rules have been amended around setting the rent for a tenancy in a RPZ. These rules apply both to setting the rent at the start of the tenancy and during the tenancy by way of a rent review. In summary, while the old rules prohibited any rent increase in a RPZ from exceeding general inflation (as recorded by HICP), there is now a new rule that provides that the rent previously set, cannot increase by more than 2% per year pro rata, where HICP inflation is higher.
This new cap on rent increases in RPZs is considered necessary given the current high level of inflation.
The RTB is required to establish and maintain a Rent Pressure Zone Calculator which can be accessed here.
When using the new Rent Pressure Zone Calculator, the user will need to enter:
Landlords should use the RTB Rent Pressure Zone Calculator when setting rents to which the RPZ rent control apply. They should sign and serve (issue) any notice of rent review on the same date as reviewing the rent. Landlords should also save a screenshot or print a copy of the calculation made on the RTB Rent Pressure Zone Calculator.
The calculator may indicate that no rent increase is allowed. In addition and 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.
These new HICP rent setting rules and the use of the Rent Pressure Zone calculator apply to all private rented tenancies including tenancies and licenses in Student Specific Accommodation (SSA).
Examples of how the rent increase restrictions apply in practice are set out below. You might wish to use the RTB Rent Pressure Zone Calculator to better understand these examples.
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.)
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 value 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).
The RTB maintains and publishes a table of HICP values here.
The Rent Pressure Zone 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 increase permitted, if any, for the tenancy.
Click here to access the Rent Pressure Zone Calculator to check if your rental property is in a RPZ.
Outlined below is the list of the Local Authority (LA) areas and Local Electoral Areas (LEAs) that have been designated as Rent Pressure Zones and the dates they were designated. All of the RPZs listed below will remain designated as a RPZ until 31 December 2024.
24th December 2016
Cork City Council
Dublin City Council
Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council
Fingal County Council
South Dublin County Council
27th January 2017
24th March 2017
22nd September 2017
28th March 2019
2nd July 2019
26th September 2019
18th December 2019
22nd April 2020
For an area to be designated a Rent Pressure Zone, the following criteria is used:
There are three different standardised average rents (see below), which to use depends on the location of the area being assessed:
Landlords should note that if their tenancy was already in existence when the area was designated, they remain under the current rent certainty measures (rent review once every 24 months) for the purpose of the next rent review. Every review thereafter will be permitted annually.
From 11th December 2021, where a new tenancy commences in an RPZ, a landlord is required to set the rent in accordance with the Harmonised Index of the Consumer Price (HICP), or the ’HICP rules’, unless the property is exempt from rental restrictions. 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. Some landlords and tenants believe that when one tenancy ends, and another begins, they can set the new rent to market rent levels as opposed to using the Rent Pressure Zone calculator. This is not the case.
On the commencement of a new tenancy in a Rent Pressure Zone, a landlord is required to provide the tenant, in writing, with the following information:
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 general inflation as per the HICP. The Rent Pressure Zone calculator will permit landlords to print off the calculations with a date stamp included. Calculations should be confirmed and verified on the same date that the information on how the rent is set is served on the tenant.
A link to the Rent Pressure Zone calculator can be found here.
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.
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. The rent cannot be increased by more than inflation as outlined in the Rent Pressure Zone Calculator which uses HICP values, 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. 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.
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, 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. 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 Notice of Rent Review Form to serve it on the tenant. The rent cannot be increased by more than inflation (as outlined in the RTB Rent Pressure Zone Calculator which uses HICP values), and 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.
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 those 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,
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,
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 Restriction, attach relevant supporting documentation to the form and send it to the RTB within one month of the rent setting taking place.
The RTB encourages tenants and landlords to discuss problems promptly, keep lines of communication open and respect each other’s positions. If the problem cannot be resolved registered landlords and all tenants can apply to the RTB for dispute resolution.
Mediation is a free service offered by the RTB that allows two or more disputing parties to resolve their conflict in a mutually agreeable way with the help of a neutral third party, a mediator. Mediation is usually done by telephone, which is a faster and more convenient option. The aim of mediation is to give landlords and tenants a shared understanding of the issue, so they can work towards reaching a mutually satisfactory outcome and agreement. It is confidential, and the outcomes are not published on the RTB website. The key benefit of this resolution type is that case parties do not have to leave their home and they do not have to interact physically with other case parties. Over 70% of cases which enter Telephone Mediation result in an agreement.
A further service offered by the RTB is Adjudication. The fee for adjudication is €15 for an online application and €25 for a paper application. This involves a hearing before an independent adjudicator, where both the landlord and tenant present their evidence and the adjudicator makes a binding decision. Adjudication hearings are currently taking place virtually via MS Teams. Although adjudication proceedings and the adjudicator’s report are confidential, it is important to remember that the Determination Order will be published on the RTB website and will list the names of the case parties and the rental property address.
For more information on the RTB dispute resolution service, please visit the RTB website here.
Investigations and Sanctions
The RTB has an Investigation and Sanctions unit dedicated to investigating certain potential breaches by a landlord of the RTA 2004. The breaches of the RTA 2004 that the RTB can investigate are referred to as “Improper Conduct”. Improper Conduct includes where a landlord does not comply with the RPZ rent increase restrictions.
Where it is found that Improper Conduct has occurred, the result can be a sanction of a caution, and/or a fine of up to €15,000 and up to €15,000 costs against the landlord. Any monetary sanction imposed is paid to the exchequer.
The Investigations and Sanctions unit can start an investigation either as a result of information received from members of the public or as a result of information gathered from records that the RTB has access to under the RTA 2004, including registration data and RPZ exemption data.
A potential breach of rental law as outlined above can be brought to the attention of the Investigations and Sanctions unit by:
For further information on what can be investigated and how to inform the RTB of potential Improper Conduct please click here.