Former Kildare North Labour TD, Emmet Stagg, has called on the Minister for Housing to review the exclusion of the towns of Maynooth, Clane and Kilcock from Rent Pressure Zone caps announced on January 26 last.
Mr. Stagg said he wrote to the Minister saying that the annualised rate of increase in rents in the Maynooth Electoral Area was 17.7% in Quarter 2 2015, 10.5% in Quarter 3 2015 and 12.9% in Quarter 4 2015. “Then inexplicably in quarter 1 of 2016 annualised rents fell by .1% and annualised rents fell by 2.6% in Quarter 2 of 2016. In quarter 3 of 2016 annualised rents increased by 6%.”
Mr. Stagg stated that there is “no way” rents were falling in Maynooth, Clane and Kilcock in the first six months of 2016. It did not happen.
He has asked the Minister, Simon Coveney, to contact the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) “to review their methodology given the suspect results thrown up by their examination.”
His party colleague, Cllr. John McGinley told the Leader the exclusion of Maynooth was “crazy.”
This week, Minister, Simon Coveney, was quoted in the Irish Times as saying that Maynooth was not included among areas zoned for rent restrictions, because they did not meet strict criteria.
RTB criteria says that local electoral areas can be designated rent pressure zones if they have a higher average rental price than the national average and have seen increases above 7 per cent over four of the last six quarters.
The newspaper reported Fine Gael TD Fergus O’Dowd as saying the criteria were flawed as they did not refer to housing assistance payments.
Wicklow Fianna Fáil TD, Pat Casey, is reported to have said he understood Blessington did not meet the criteria for average rents because the local electoral area of Blessington stretched into very rural areas.
Mr Coveney said Maynooth would not be included until it met the criteria for rent control.
He said he could understand why people would want those areas included “but we have to designate rent pressure zones on the basis of independently assessed data by the Residential Tenancies Board working with the ESRI, which is what they have been doing.”
Mr Coveney told the Irish Times: “I cannot intervene in the rental market in the way that rent pressure zones do unless the data justifies that. I won’t do things to be politically popular in local areas. That shouldn’t be a political decision, that should be made on independent data”.