Galway City Tribune – Landlords have deserted social housing rental schemes in droves since rent caps were introduced in the city – further fuelling the housing shortage and homeless crisis.
Figures obtained by the Galway City Tribune confirm that the number of landlords in the city on RAS (Rental Accommodation Scheme) has been reduced by 25% since Galway City was declared a Rent Pressure Zone 22 months ago.
As of January 27, 2017, annual rent increases in the city centre were capped at 4%. It was an attempt by Government to quell rent inflation but it has resulted in increased homelessness as landlords flee RAS.
However, Anne Brett of Galway City Council’s Housing Department confirmed that there are 85 fewer landlords in the city on RAS compared with before the rent caps were introduced.
There were some 330 landlords on RAS prior to the rent caps, and in the 21-months since the caps were introduced, that figure has fallen to just 245. Another 25 out of a total 130 landlords who had short-term leasing contracts with the Council, other than RAS, have also left those arrangements since the rent caps were introduced.
Landlords can only leave RAS contracts if they are selling their property, or if they are using the properties for close family members.
Anecdotally, however, Galway City Council believes that the rent cap has driven landlords out of RAS and into the private rental market, where it is easier to ignore the Rent Pressure Zone legislation. The Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) does not have the power to independently investigate whether rent caps are being adhered to unless it receives a complaint from tenants.
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