Since June 2019 there are many new provisions provided for under the Residential Tenancy Act regarding Landlords and Home improvements as well as other pressing issues. Among the new provisions signed into law relate to rent controls and designation of additional areas as rent pressure zones (RPZ) designations. The general rule is that rents for those properties are tied to the RPZ rules but there are two exemptions to rent control or to the RPZ rent restrictions:
- Properties were not let within the previous two years. The Act removes the current exemption from the 4% annual cap for new properties within an RPZ (effective from the 4th of June 2019). This means that rent restrictions will not apply when the rent is first set in the case of a property that has not been let within two years before the tenancy concerned commences. The restrictions will, however, apply to any subsequent settings of the rent.
- Substantial change to the nature of the accommodation – the Act provides for a definition of what constitutes a substantial change in the nature of the accommodation provided which landlords must satisfy in order to qualify for an exemption from the RPZ rent restrictions and these are as follows:-
- A permanent extension to the dwelling increasing the floor area by at least 25% or;
- An improvement in the building energy rating (BER) by seven or more ratings or;
- At least three of the following:
- a permanent alteration to the internal layout.
- an adaptation for use and access by persons with a disability.
- a permanent increase in the number of rooms.
- an improvement in the BER by three or more ratings where the BER is D1 or lower.
- an improvement in the BER by two or more ratings where the BER is C3 or higher.
In all cases the works involved must not consist only of works (home improvements) that landlords are obliged to carry out in accordance with their repairing obligations under the Residential Tenancies Acts and also the substantial change requirements will not apply to works which were already underway before the new legislation came in to effect on the 4th of June 2019.
Landlords need to be aware of the changes outlined above together with other substantial changes that were signed into law. Please contact Thomas Carroll at firstname.lastname@example.org or Ian Cunningham at email@example.com. You can read our other articles on property matters here and can contact us here if you have any queries.