Rent hikes show Rent Pressure Zones in Galway are not working says Farrell

Average rents in Galway city are now in excess of €1,096 a month or 30 per cent above rental rates at the end of the Celtic Tiger era in 2008, a situation that is leading to Galway politicians calling on the Government to admit the introduction of Rent Pressure Zones in the city has failed.

Figures published this week by Daft.ie on rental prices in Ireland show year-on-year rental price increases of 12.4 per cent in Galway city and 14.1 per cent in the county - the seventh quarter in a row, according to the Daft.ie figures, where rents have reached an all-time high.

The continual increase in rents is despite the Government’s introduction of so-called Rent Pressure Zones in Galway. According to Sinn Féin city councillor, Mairéad Farrell, a year after the legislation came into effect rental costs for the last three months of 2017 indicate “no end in sight to unsustainable rental costs”. She said: “In Galway city, the increase in rents during 2017 was 12.4 per cent, more than three times higher than the four per cent cap that is supposed to be on rents here. This makes a mockery of the Rent Pressure Zones.”

Cllr Farrell said the Government’s belief the private market would solve the housing crisis has proven to be a false and misleading hope. “The private market has neither the capability nor the desire to provide affordable, good quality, accommodation for families, students, and working people struggling to find HAP accommodation,” she said. “The Government must step in and provide homes at an affordable rent on public land.”

Cllr Farrell said the Government now needs to accept the Rent Pressure Zone legislation “is not functioning” and look now to introducing rent certainty measures. Her calls were echoed by the Social Democrats’ Galway representative Niall Ó Tuathail, who is calling on the Government to “introduce measures to halt rising rent prices” and to give renters “secure and stable rights”.

“It is disappointing to hear commentators talking about bubbles,” said Mr Ó Tuathail. “This isn’t a bubble like the previous crash. It is a massive shortage of homes and Government need to start building now. Investing our taxes in housing is good for society and, if done right, it can improve our economy.”

The Social Democrats recently published a Renters’ Charter, which includes rent caps linked to the rate of inflation (currently under one per cent ), longer tenancies, a deposit protection scheme, legally limiting deposits to one month’s rent, and stiffer penalties for rogue landlords.

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