Landlords 'using renovations to circumvent rent legislation'

Threshold has today raised concerns that some landlords are using renovations as a way to hike rents above their capped rates.

The housing charity made the comments as it outlined its wish list for the upcoming Budget today.

Under Government legislation, landlords cannot raise rents by more than 4% in rent pressure zones.

However, they can increase it by more than that if they are carrying out major renovations.

Tracey Murphy from Threshold said that some landlords are abusing this process, however.

"This is a new trend, especially in the last six months," she said.

"We have an example in Cork of a client who came to us. The landlord put down new carpets and painted the house, and then asked for a 30% rent increase.”

Threshold said a snapshot survey showed 12 out of 100 calls they received from tenants were related to this issue.

Chair of Threshold Dr Aideen Hayden said the practice is sly and unfair.

“It’s incredibly sneaky, but I’m also very concerned that it’s a way of ensuring that low-income groups are excluded out of the market,” she said.

The organisation would like to see an increase in the limits of the Housing Assistance Payment and Rent Supplement to reflect the market.

Threshold’s John Mark McCaffery says he would also like to see a third party take charge of deposits to avoid conflicts between landlords and tenants.

“Tenants will be able to get their deposit back if they have fulfilled all of the obligations of their tenancy,” he said.

“And that third party, that objective body, would go a long way to securing that.”



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